Unlike January 2011, the ground outside is not frozen solid, in fact it is unseasonally mild in Ireland. Continental Europe is, tragically for many, in the grip of an icy period, meanwhile. The small fir tree which sat in a pot decorated for Christmas in the front window of the sitting room, is now au naturel again, and ready for returning to  its permanent growing position beside the raspberry canes in the back garden.

Replanting could not be easier. Ensure the hole is large enough to accommodate the root ball of the tree. Sprinkle some compost in the bottom of the hole as a kind of tonic. I convince myself this helps the tree to get over the trauma of the Christmas disturbance! Place the tree back in the hole from whence it was dug back in December. Water judiciously to settle the tree in position. Back fill the soil and firm the tree in an upright position. Looking at this dwarf fir tree now, it is hard to imagine it bedecked with decorations and enkindled with fairy lights. With the help of Mother Nature, this humble little tree will hopefully be heading for the bright lights again next Christmas.


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