Christmas greenery doesn't always find a buyer

December 30, 2003|HERB BROCK

Christmas Day is over, but that doesn't mean all gift-giving has come to a halt.

Take, for example, the cut trees, wreaths and garlands used to decorate homes during the holidays. Greenery that is not sold can, and does, become presents of sorts for both shut-ins and gardeners.

"We try to do as good a job as possible estimating the number of trees and other Christmas greenery and the poinsettias we plan to sell each Christmas season," said a manager at King's Nursery and Garden Center on Nicholasville Road in Lexington, which has a lot of customers from Boyle and other area counties.

"But no matter how hard we try to plan, we always will have things that go unsold," she said.

That doesn't mean they go unused, though.

For instance, King's ordered 500 cut trees for Christmas 2003 but had about100 left over. They were placed in a wood chipper machine, along with unsold wreaths and garlands, and reduced to mulch. Much of the mulch will be applied to trees and shrubs growing in the nursery, and the rest will be put in piles available for sale to the public.


"In a real way, the trees live on," the manager said.

But some of the greenery and poinsettias that were not purchased by customers during Christmastime have been given away to people in need, shut-ins and nursing homes.

The same mulching fate awaits most of the unsold Christmas trees at Louie Hillenmeyer's Flower Power stores off of U.S. 68 in Nicholasville, another popular place for area gardeners. A Hillenmeyer's spokesman said most of the trees put up for sale at the Nicholasville store and two of the Flower Power stores in Lexington were bought, but a couple of hundred or more were not and they have been chipped into mulch.

However, right before Christmas, some unsold trees were donated to people and nursing homes, along with poinsettias.

At Stonegate Gardens in Danville, unsold Christmas trees either became a bonus or a bonfire.

"We were able to sell all but a few of our cut trees, garlands and wreaths," said manager Jackie Harless. "We try to do a good job ordering, but there are always a few things that aren't bought."

The unsold yuletide greenery is either burned or given to shut-ins and nursing homes, said Harless.

"We don't have a chipper to turn the trees and wreaths into mulch. We usually don't have that many left over to make that much mulch anyway," she said. "We have a burn permit and burn most of them.

"The rest of trees and other greenery, we give to people we hear about that might need a tree and to nursing facilities. We also give away our remaining poinsettias," she said. "They become gifts, and that's what Christmas is supposed to be about."

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