Herbal Teas for What Ails You

This information is presented for informational purposes only  (I’m not an Herbalist or a doctor).

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Conversation Questions–Christmas II

More Christmas questions for you to ask.

Photo by Canva


When do you open Christmas presents? (On what day? At what time?)
When do you put up a Christmas tree?
If you don’t put up a Christmas tree, do you put up other decorations?
When does your family decorate the Christmas tree?
Where are you going for Christmas vacation?
Where do you think Santa Claus is from?
Where will you go on Christmas Day?
Who do you expect to receive presents from?
Who is Santa Claus?
Do you know the history of Santa Claus?
At what age did you begin not believing in Santa Claus?
Who was at your house last Christmas?
Who will you give presents to this year?
Who would you like to be with on Christmas?
Will you go skiing during the Christmas vacation?
Will you have a Christmas party at your home?
Will you spend Christmas vacation with your family or your friends?
Will you travel abroad during the Christmas vacation?
Would you like to go skating during Christmas vacation?
Why do people give out Christmas cards with gifts and presents at Christmas time?
Why some people do not like Christmas?
Do people behave differently during Christmas? Do they try to be better?
Do you donate something (money, clothes…) to charities?
Do you give something to homeless people?
How long do Christmas trees last?
Do you use an artificial tree?
What do you usually do on Christmas day?
What people usually do on Christmas day?
Why do people sometimes write “Christmas” with an “X”? (Xmas)
Do you have a big and delicious dinner on Christmas day?
Does it break your heart knowing that your children have grown up and this year will be their last Christmas at home?
If you had a million dollars, what would you do during Christmas time?
If you could change something about Christmas time, what would it be?
When do you put up your Christmas tree?
How is Christmas celebrated in the United States?
Do you have a big and delicious dinner in Christmas?
What kind of food do you usually eat in your country?
Do you remember Christmas celebrations you had as a child?
What was the most regretful thing about this year?
Does it break your heart knowing that your children have grown up and this year will be their last Christmas at home?
What did you get for Christmas? What did you give for Christmas?
What’s the best thing you left out for Santa Clause to eat on Christmas?
Trivia: In what 1942 movie was the song ‘White Christmas” first sung?
Do you ever think about the real meaning of Christmas?
Do you go skiing at Christmas time?
Whose birthday is celebrated on Christmas?
Which comes first, Christmas or New Year’s Day?
What is the significance of a Christmas tree?
What does it represent for you?


Christmas Questions I & II by:


Conversation Questions–Christmas I


Let’s talk about Christmas !


shutterstock photo


  • Did it snow last year at Christmas?
  • Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a child?
  • Did you enjoy last Christmas?
  • Do people behave differently during Christmas?
    • Do they try to be better?
    • Do you donate something (money, clothes…) to charities?
    • Do you give something to homeless people?
  • Do you attend any special religious ceremonies during the Christmas season?
  • Do you celebrate Christmas in your country?
  • Do you celebrate Christmas in a special way?
  • Do you celebrate Christmas in a traditional way?
    • Do you have a traditional Christmas?
  • Do you decorate the outside of your house for Christmas?
  • Do you eat a turkey dinner for your Christmas dinner?
  • Do you enjoy Christmas time?
  • Do you enjoy singing Christmas songs?
  • Do you exchange presents with your friends at school?
  • Do you go to church on Christmas day?
  • Do you hang up a stocking?
  • Do you have a Christmas party at school?
  • Do you have a Christmas tree?
    • If so, how do you decorate it?
    • When do you put it up?
    • When do you take it down?
    • Is it real or artificial?
  • Do you have a part-time job during Christmas vacation?
  • Do you have any plans to go to a Christmas party?
  • Do you know why Christmas is celebrated around the world?
  • Do you know the history of Christmas?
  • Do you remember when you found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real/ or when your children found out? What was your/their reaction like?
  • Do you see your relatives at Christmas time?
  • Do you think Christmas is depressing? (There is a high suicide rate at this time of year.)
  • Do you think we will have a white Christmas this year?
  • Do you usually put up Christmas decorations in your house? (Do you usually decorate your home?)
    • How about at your school of the place where you work?
    • Does you school have a Christmas play?
    • Does your family have any special Christmas traditions?
    • Does your town get decorated at Christmas?
      • What kind of decorations?
    • Have you already finished your Christmas shopping?
    • Have you ever celebrated Christmas in a foreign country?
    • Have you ever made your own Christmas cards?
      • If so, how did you make them?
    • How do you usually spend New Year’s Eve? How about New Year’s Day?
    • How long do you keep your Christmas tree up after Christmas?
    • How long is your Christmas vacation?
    • How many Christmas cards did you receive last year?
    • How many Christmas cards do you send?
    • How many presents do you usually give?
    • If you are not a Christian, does the intense focus on Christmas in the U.S. make you feel bad in any way (e.g., ignored, dismissed, angry, etc.)?
    • If you could go anywhere during Christmas vacation, where would you go?
    • In how many languages did you write Christmas cards?
    • Is there a holiday similar to Christmas in your home country?
    • Is your Christmas tree a real tree or an artificial tree?
    • What are some popular foods for the Christmas season?
    • What are you going to buy your boyfriend/girlfriend for their Christmas present?
    • What did you do last year on Christmas Day?
    • How did you celebrate Christmas last year?
    • What do you eat on Christmas Day?
    • What do you usually do for Christmas?
    • What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?
    • What does your family eat for Christmas dinner?
    • What is Christmas like in your hometown?
      • What is Christmas like in your country?
    • What is the best Christmas present you have ever gotten?
    • What is the most expensive Christmas present you plan to buy?
    • What is the typical menu for a Christmas meal in your family? (… in your country?)
    • What is the weather like in your country around Christmas time?
    • What is your attitude toward the commercialization of the Christmas season?
      • Is Christmas becoming too commercialized?
    • What is your favorite Christmas carol?
    • What is your favorite Christmas song?
      • Are there any special songs in your country that you don’t hear here?
    • What kind of interesting things do you do for Christmas in your home country?
    • What kind of presents do you expect to get this Christmas?
    • What time do you wake up on Christmas day?
    • What time does your family open the presents?
    • What traditions do you have during the Christmas season?
    • What was the best present your received last Christmas?
    • What will you buy your parents?
    • What will you do on Christmas day?
    • What will you eat on Christmas Day?
    • What would you like to get for your Christmas present?
    • What’s your favorite Christmas song?
    • When do you do your Christmas shopping?
        What kind of presents do you buy?

      • Who do you buy them for?
      • About how much do you spend per person?
    • When do you give Christmas presents? (On what day? At what time?)

25 Fun Facts About Flowers

corpse flower


Looking for some flower facts?

Flowers beguile us with their lovely scent and striking beauty, but many flowers have hidden attributes. Flowers and plants have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Some flowers, such as the lotus, have religious or historical significance. Many flowers may also have unusual characteristics or forms. Dive into the fascinating world of flower-lore and gain a fresh appreciation for these plants.

1.     Roses are related to apples, raspberries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears and almonds.

2.     Tulip bulbs were more valuable than gold in Holland in the 1600s.

3.     Ancient civilizations burned aster leaves to ward off evil spirits.

4.     Tulip bulbs can be substituted for onions in a recipe.

5.     Chrysanthemums are associated with funerals in Malta and are considered unlucky.

6.     The very expensive spice, saffron, comes from a type of crocus flower.

7.     The largest flower in the world is the titan arums, which produce flowers 10 feet high and 3 feet wide. The flowers smell of decaying flesh and are also known as corpse flowers, as pictured at the top of this post. Creative Commons Flickr photo courtesy of un_cola.

8.     Almost 60 percent of fresh-cut flowers grown in the U.S. come from California.

9.     Hundreds of years ago, when Vikings invaded Scotland, they were slowed by patches of wild thistle, allowing the Scots time to escape. Because of this, the wild thistle was named Scotland’s national flower.

10.  The lotus was considered a sacred flower by ancient Egyptians and was used in burial rituals. This flower blooms in rivers and damp wetlands, but may lie dormant for years during times of drought, only to rise again with the return of water. Egyptians viewed it as a symbol of resurrection and eternal life.

11.  Scientists discovered the world’s oldest flower in 2002, in northeast China. The flower, named Archaefructus sinensis, bloomed around 125 million years ago and resembles a water lily.

12.  The juice from bluebell flowers was used historically to make glue.

13.  Foxglove is an old English name, derived from the belief that foxes slipped their feet into the leaves of the plant to sneak up on prey.

14.  Dandelions might seem like weeds, but the flowers and leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and potassium. One cup of dandelion greens provides 7,000-13,000 I.U. of vitamin A.

15.  The flower buds of the marsh marigold are pickled as a substitute for capers.

16.  Sunflowers move throughout the day in response to the movement of the sun from east to west.

17.  Moon flowers bloom only at night, closing during the day.

18.  Flowering nicotiana is related to tobacco, from which cigarettes are made.

19.  Gas plants produce a clear gas on humid, warm nights. This gas is said to be ignitable with a lit match.

20.  When Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, they subsisted on the roots of the Sego Lily Plant. This plant is the state flower of Utah.

21.  The cornstarch-like powder known as arrowroot is derived from the plant, Marantha arundinacea, and is native to India. It was used by indigenous people to draw out the toxins from a poisoned arrow wound. Today, it is used to thicken pies and jellies.

22.  Angelica was used in Europe for hundreds of years as a cure for everything from the bubonic plague to indigestion. It was thought to ward off evil spirits.

23.  Blue cohosh, also known as squaw root or papoose root, was used by Native American women to ensure an easy labor and childbirth.

24.  During the Middle Ages, lady’s mantle was thought to have magic healing properties.

25.  When Achilles was born, his mother dipped him head first in a bath of yarrow tea, believing it had protective qualities. Yarrow is still known for healing and was used during World War I to heal soldiers’ wounds.

The next time you walk through a flower garden, take a minute to consider the individual plants growing there. One of them may hold the secret for curing a dreaded disease. Another may have a long, illustrious history. Every flower has qualities and attributes worth admiring.

Still reading? Check out these additional flower facts for kids!



6 ways to have a green, eco-friendly Christmas



Hero Images, Getty Images

While the holidays are typically a time of indulgence, how can one celebrate when the phrase of the year is “climate strike”? And with the festivities in full swing, it easy to resort to old habits rather than thinking of eco-friendly ways to have a green Christmas.

“Although [the holidays] are full of merriment, they can also be a time of unnecessary excess. This time of year should be about family, friends, food, and fun—not stuff,” says Lindsay Coulter, senior public engagement specialist of the David Suzuki Foundation’s Queen of Green.

According to Coulter, between Thanksgiving in the U.S. and early January, household waste increases by more than 25 percent, due to extra food waste (up to 40 percent of festive food is wasted) in addition to packaging and older items being trashed for newer gifts. As a result of this material merriment, there are more than one million more tons per week in landfills across North America, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

No wonder many of us might have misgivings when celebrating a season of excess that puts a strain on the environment. Thankfully, with some effort and creativity, there are ways to ring in this special time with little impact on the planet. Below, we provided six ways you can have a greener Christmas, according to environmental experts. Because if there’s any time we should consider our environmental habits, it’s now.

Christmas tree

When it comes to choosing your Christmas tree, opt for a real one instead of purchasing an artificial tree. “While [artificial trees] can be reused, studies show you would have to use one for 20 years before it [becomes more sustainable] than a real tree,” says Coulter.

Shyla Raghav, vice president of climate change of Conservation International, recommends buying a real tree from a local farm. Not only do real trees help to create a habitat for wildlife and provide clean air while they’re growing “getting your trees locally will also minimize the carbon footprint that comes from transporting the trees, and it can be used for mulch after the season is over,” she says.

Holiday lights

Research from the Center for Global Development found that decorative seasonal lights accounted for 6.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity consumption every year in the United States, which is the equivalent of running 14 million refrigerators—and more than the national electricity consumption of such developing countries like El Salvador and Tanzania. The solution? Raghav recommends using modern tech. “For your [holiday] lights, try using LEDs over traditional. LEDs use up 80% less energy and last 25% longer,” she says.

Holiday gifts

When you’re purchasing gifts, Raghav suggests scouring antique and vintage shops for “those unique finds that don’t carry the huge burden of emissions from seasonal production and shipping. [For instance,] last year, I found a really cool shawl for my mom at a local vintage clothing store in DC.”

Another important thing to consider when purchasing gifts is to buy experiences, not gifts for people. Think museum memberships, workout subscriptions, tickets to see a show, spa days, etc, says Raghav. However, if you do choose to buy from online retailers, Raghav says to choose standard shipping and try to consolidate all of your purchases into one order so that you can reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible: “Make one list and order all [your gifts] at once,” she adds.

Holiday wrapping

Of course, what’s gift-giving without wrapping paper? However, single-use wrapping paper is super wasteful, which is why Coulter suggests unleashing your creativity when it comes to decorating your gifts. “Check out furoshiki cloth wrapping techniques. [You can] sew your own reusable cloth bags; wrap with newspapers, maps or posters; [or] decorate with markers,” she says. And try not to use plastic ribbons, bows, glitter, and extra tape to avoid creating additional waste.

Holiday food

No holiday gathering is complete without food. “Bringing all of your friends and family together can greatly reduce your footprint,” says Raghav. “When making your menu, [opt for] vegetarian and vegan [dishes]. I really love dressing up a vegan celebration roast with sides like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.” But if you can’t ditch the meat entirely, Coulter recommends eating less and buying meat that’s been organically and ethically raised.

When it comes to leftovers, don’t let your food go to waste and repurpose them for another meal. “My favorite second day Thanksgiving meal is a Thanksgiving sandwich, complete with all the fixings,” says Raghav. “And if you don’t end up using all of the leftovers, be sure to compost.” Another eco-friendly tip: Ditch the plastic and disposables dinnerware, and invite guests to bring their own dishes if you’re in need of extra tableware.

Holiday travel

For many of us, the holidays mean major travel time to see our loved ones. If your family is spread far apart from each other, you might want to agree upon a destination where everyone can meet in the middle, says Coulter. However, if that’s not the case, Raghav says you can help neutralize the carbon footprint of your travel and meals with Conservation International’s Holiday Carbon Calculator. “It will calculate the carbon footprint of your event or travel and allow you to invest directly in keeping a carbon-rich forest standing,” she says. “You’ll also discover easy lifestyle changes you can make in 2020 to live lighter all year long.”

Making simple environmentally conscious changes to our long-held traditions can help out our planet in the long run. As the list above illustrates, we don’t have to sacrifice on the specialness of the holiday season to not only make it memorable, but also help ensure we can continue making those memories for years to come.

The top reasons why people go gluten-free

As low-carbketo, and paleo diets continue to rise in popularity, you may be wondering if you too should swipe left on the bread basket at dinner. Gluten-free diets are becoming more popular in the US, with more grocery stores carrying gluten-free products and restaurants adapting to gluten-free requests than ever before. It’s estimated that 30% of all Americans avoid gluten, but only a small percentage of those people are diagnosed with Celiac disease or a severe gluten allergy. So why is everyone hopping on the gluten-free bandwagon?

a bunch of food sitting on a grill: Thirty percent of all Americans avoid gluten, a type of protein found in wheat. Getty Images © Provided by CNET Thirty percent of all Americans avoid gluten, a type of protein found in wheat. Getty Images

The answer? It’s kind of complicated. Gluten is a mix of two proteins found in bread and any food products that contain wheat, such as cereal, pasta and packaged foods. Those proteins can be difficult for people to digest, and are thought to aggravate or even cause some health issues.

Some people need to avoid gluten to save their lives, while others simply feel better and believe they are healthier without it. Whether or not you should eat gluten is definitely not black or white, which is why I’m diving into the top common reasons people avoid it below. If you’re considering cutting out gluten, here’s what you need to know about why people avoid it, and what effects nutrition science and health pros say it can have on your health.

Rise in popularity of Keto, Paleo and low-carb diets

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years, then you’ve probably noticed that the low-carb diet trend is booming. And while science and health pros still debate about whether it’s really healthy for you to cut out carbs, people are turning to low-carb style of eating with the aim to lose weight, feel more energized or to manage certain diseases or conditions (among other reasons).

Some of the most popular diets, including the Keto diet and the Paleo diet, require you to cut out bread and gluten. For the Keto diet, you cut bread and wheat products, mainly because they are high in carbs; the goal of the Keto diet is to restrict enough carbs and consume more fat so you’re body goes into a ketogenic state (where you body runs on fat for energy). The Paleo diet restricts bread and all grains (including gluten-containing grains), since the aim of the diet is to reduce your consumption of processed foods and stick to foods in their whole form (i.e. mainly veggies, fruit, meat, eggs, nuts).

Health concerns about gluten

There’s a lot of confusion around whether everyone should avoid gluten or if it’s just for those with diagnosed conditions (more on that later) to worry about. The main argument surrounding problems with gluten is that it contains proteins that are resistant to digestion in humans. And while you may think this is not that big of a deal (besides causing come bloating or discomfort), many experts disagree.

According to some, when this happens, it can cause “leaky gut” or intestinal permeability, where molecules are able to cross out of your small intestine and into your body (which is not supposed to happen when you digest food), triggering an autoimmune response. Science shows that this happens to people with celiac disease, although the evidence that it can happen to nonceliac people is only confirmed in test-tube studies.

And the proteins in gluten aren’t the only issue — gluten found in wheat also contains Amylase‐trypsin inhibitors, which are shown to cause inflammation in the digestive system. Wheat germ agglutinin is a type of lectin found in wheat that is also linked to autoimmune issues and inflammation.

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where consuming gluten causes damage to the small intestine, resulting in painful and uncomfortable digestive distress. The small intestine is responsible for helping the body absorb nutrients. When it’s damaged, that means you’re not getting what you need from the food you eat, which can cause a lot of health problems. When celiac disease is undiagnosed or left untreated, it can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, multiple sclerosis or GI cancer.

Even if you don’t have a severe wheat or gluten allergy or celiac disease, it’s possible to develop a sensitivity to gluten that causes symptoms like headache, fatigue, “brain fog,” bloating or gas. This is commonly reported and it’s estimated that 18 million people in the US report having a gluten sensitivity.

If you suspect you have a gluten sensitivity, one way to know is to try removing it from your diet for a period of time. Then when you reintroduce it and notice symptoms, then you may be able to pinpoint if it’s the culprit behind a headache or stomach ache you experience.


Whether or not you avoid gluten is a personal preference. Some people simply avoid it because they follow health experts who recommend cutting it out (which is totally fine). If you don’t think you have any issues with it and aren’t concerned, you don’t have to follow a trend simply because other people do. And if the evidence above concerns you, then taking out gluten is a simple way to avoid the health risks some claim are associated with it.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.  



Meghan Markle’s trainer reveals 6 tips for avoiding holiday weight gain

By Gabby Landsverk of Insider
Slide 1 of 7: 

    The holiday season is notorious for breaking up
    otherwise healthy eating and

    But strong habits and good planning can help prevent
    holiday overindulgence, according to Sebastien Lagree, personal
    trainer to A-List stars like Meghan
    Markle, Michelle
    Obama, and Kim

    Eating before your big meal, drinking plenty of water,
    and making time for just five minutes of exercise a day can
    help keep you healthy and fit.  

    And, if you're generally healthy, a day or two of
    festivities won't do any lasting harm to diet or exercise
    goals, so don't stress. 

    Insider's homepage for more. 

  Between the cold weather and an abundance of meal-based
  gatherings, holiday season can wreak havoc on your healthy
  habits. But it doesn't have to, according to 
  Sebastien Lagree, founder of Lagree Fitness and personal
  trainer to a long list of A-list stars, including Meghan Markle,
  Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Kim Kardashian. 

  It's still possible to stay on track with healthy eating and
  exercise goals from Thanksgiving to New Year's, Lagree told
  Insider, if you follow a few simple tips. Here's his advice.
Pool/Samir Hussein contributor/Getty Images

Between the cold weather and an abundance of meal-based gatherings, holiday season can wreak havoc on your healthy habits. But it doesn’t have to, according to Sebastien Lagree, founder of Lagree Fitness and personal trainer to a long list of A-list stars, including Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Kim Kardashian.

It’s still possible to stay on track with healthy eating and exercise goals from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Lagree told Insider, if you follow a few simple tips:

Slide 6 of 7: 
  On a cold winter day, especially after a big meal, it can be
  tempting to skip the snowy trek to the gym in favor of cozying up
  indoors. But Lagree said it's still possible to get in a solid
  workout, even without equipment or much time. 

  He recommended slow, isometric workouts - exercises that hold
  tension through the movement - like lunges, wall sits, 
  planks, tricep dips, and crunches. 

  Pick five and do each for a minute, in any order. "Move so
  slow you can feel gravity pulling your body to the floor, feel
  your body fighting gravity," Lagree said.

  For an added challenge, add a "pulse" movement to static holds.
  In a squat, for instance, hold the position, then very slowly
  move up and down a tiny amount, still maintaining a low squat.
  For plank, lower into a partial push-up position and back into

  "You don't have to do it for hours," Lagree said. "Just a few
  seconds will get your heart rate up."






56 Easy Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas That’ll Upgrade Your Holiday

Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee (or wine) and relax as you read how to upgrade your holiday tree !  Better make it a huge cup as there’s 56 ideas.  Enjoy them all !

Slide 1 of 57: It's time to switch it up from the same old Christmas decorations you use to adorn your tree every year. Red and green ball ornaments are cool and all, but you've been there, done that, and we have a feeling your tree could use a little refresh this holiday season. Let these insanely chic trees inspire you—whether you want understated, rustic, glam, or totally over-the-top colorful, there's a tree for you on this list.

By Sienna Livermore, Elizabeth Gulino and House Beautiful

It’s time to switch it up from the same old Christmas decorations you use to adorn your tree every year. Red and green ball ornaments are cool and all, but you’ve been there, done that, and we have a feeling your tree could use a little refresh this holiday season. Let these insanely chic trees inspire you—whether you want understated, rustic, glam, or totally over-the-top colorful, there’s a tree for you on this list.




get lit


sweert tree

scandinavian tree


I hope you took my advice and have a huge cup because there’s much more.  Thanks to House Beautiful for these great ideas.



The Art of Espalier

Espalier fruit trees - how to grow lots of fruit in a small space

How to ESPALIER small trees to grow fruit in a small space


Espalier is an art that originated in Europe. The skill of espalier involves patience and artistry you can see through as these plants are painstakingly trained along fences and walls. Touring around Europe, you will see elaborate and beautiful designs that have grown over hundreds of years.

In the home garden this can be a fun project that grows over time with your family and evolves as the years go by.Espalier lattice Fence

Espalier Shapes

There are many different shapes of an espalier: cordon (branches straight out to the sides), fan (branches fanning up and to the side), candelabra (like a cordon but the branches turn at a right angle to form the shape of a candelabra), lattice (multiple trees with crossing branches), and “Y” shapes.

The simplest shape to start with is the cordon. Often fruit trees can be purchased grafted into this shape like the espalier that I have in my play garden.

Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour

Grafted Espaliers

My espalier has five different varieties of apple grafted onto a dwarf apple stock. Grafting is the process of attaching a branch to the tree so that they grow together as one. Since it’s the trunk of the tree that supports the rootstock, it determines the overall height of the tree. Then the branches of five different apples trees are grafted on to produce varied fruiting branches. I have even seen “fruit salad” trees with grafted branches of apple, pear, plum, peach, and cherry; although I can’t report on how well this works myself.

I have worked with a few espaliers in small urban spaces: grafted five-fruit varieties of apple and pear in my home gardens, and heirloom apples at the community gardens. In my home garden, I have the space for only one tree, so I chose a tree with different varieties of apples that flower and fruit at varying times throughout the season. Usually the varieties are selected to support each other so that cross-pollination can occur, but sometimes grafting is simply for the novelty of having multiple fruit varieties on one tree.

In practice, these grafted trees often start out with multiple varieties but then morph into one or two of the strongest varieties over time. Even so, with the proper conditions and care, an espalier fruit tree can thrive and be productive in a small space.

Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour Espalier apple

How to Plant an Espalier

The optimal time to plant any fruit trees is in the winter or early spring when they’re dormant. Dig the tree into the soil as soon as the soil is workable for the year. Create a large hole that is twice as wide, but just as deep as your root ball. Add well-rotted compost to the hole. Position the tree so that the base of the trunk, at the root flare (just where it begins to widen), is at the soil line. Plant any deeper and the roots will grow upwards, plant too high and roots will be exposed. Fill in the hole with soil and water well for the first year until established.

Don’t forget to pick the right place for your tree. Most fruit trees love sun, so a nice sunny spot will give you the best fruit. Follow the care instructions on your tree for best results.Rows of Espalier apples

How to Prune & Train an Espalier

First, determine the pattern you want and look for a young tree that has that basic shape. Remove any branches that don’t fit the pattern or that suffer from one of the 4 D’s (read all about that in Pruning 101).

Now build a structure to support the shape, or attach the branches to an existing fence. Use a soft, covered wire or ribbon that can be retied when the branches grow. Be sure not to choke the branches with too-tight ties.

Here are some helpful supplies for training an espalier:

Espalier apples with blossoms

Espalier Maintenance

Monthly pruning will keep an espalier neat and productive. The key is to regularly do a little pruning to maintain the shape, and allow all of the tree’s energy to go into the remaining branches (read all about plant energy in this post on pruning).

Remove any branches that are starting to get long, and leave plenty of buds where the cuts are. This will ensure that leaves, flowers, and fruit grow close to the branches.

Apple Blossom

Continue to prune throughout the growing season and enjoy your gorgeous new espalier as it grows and fruits over the years.Espalier apples

For more information on pruning, check out these posts:

Thanks to Stephanie Rose for this article: