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Keepin’ It Green

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I don’t know about you, but by the time the twelfth night rolls around (the traditional day to take down the Christmas tree), my tree is already bundled and on the sidewalk. It’s not that I don’t honor tradition; it’s that I don’t want a fire hazard in my living room!

An early Thanksgiving means a long holiday season, and keeping a tree fresh throughout is not an impossible task, but it is a touch demanding.

“New Orleans Living” caught up with Peter Perino, owner of Perino’s Garden Center, just as he was negotiating a delayed shipment of trees due to the warm weather on the West Coast. Perino’s has been keeping gardeners, landscapers and those like me with “black thumbs” in trees, shrubs, and flowering bushes since 1955.

Peter offered this advice on how to make your greens last longer:

Wait until the end of the first week of December to buy your trees and garlands.
Make a fresh cut at the end of the trunk so the tree can drink a bit more.
If you can, put the tree in a bucket of water and let stand in the shade for a few days before bringing it inside.
Frequently mist your tree and make sure there is water in the tree stand at all times.
Keep your greens in cool, moist places for as long as possible.
Mist greens, garlands and wreaths daily unless they are exterior decorations and it has been raining a lot.

Why They Dry
Exterior decorations are exposed to light, heat and humidity, among other things. Interior decorations are subject to everything from drafts to the constant switching of air conditioning to heat. In fact, no matter what, once a tree or ropes of greens are cut, they will dry out, which is why you should mist, mist, mist.

Origins Matter
Fir trees are long lasting and smell extraordinary. The Noble Fir is a strong, sturdy tree and doesn’t shed as quickly as other types.
Trees and greens from Maine should be good and moist—perhaps the only positive effect of Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter that dumped early snow on them.
You want your greens cut and shipped as close to the time you are going to put them out. Ask your salesperson, and if he or she doesn’t know, ask the manager.

Have wonderful holidays. Enjoy your tree, garlands, etc. and, if they are not flocked when the season is over, recycle them !

Perino’s Garden Center
3100 Veterans Boulevard
Metairie, LA 70002
(504) 834-7888
www.perinos.com