Free Christmas tree guide available online

The holiday season is getting underway and for many, that means a trip to a Virginia Christmas tree farm or retail lot. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services wants to make this annual tradition a little easier and has published the new “2011 Virginia Grown Christmas Tree Guide,” which is available online at http://www.virginiagrown.com.

The guide includes information on Christmas tree farms across the state and lists them by city or county for easy reference. You can also search for a variety of trees, such as Fraser, Douglas or Scotch; for special offerings like hot cider, visits with Santa, hayrides, nature trails and marshmallow-roasting; and other extras such as mountain views or woodland settings.

In addition to the basics about each farm, such as hours of operation, directions and contact information, the Christmas Tree Guide details the services available. These may include providing handsaws and twine, tree-shaking to remove dead needles, tree-baling or wrapping for easier transport and assistance cutting your tree and getting it in from the field to your vehicle. The guide also offers tips about caring for both cut and live trees.

For a free copy, call 786-3935 or visit http://www.virginiagrown.com.
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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will host a Sun Celebration and Solar Eclipse Viewing Party from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Glasses to view the eclipse safely will be given to the first 500 guests starting at 1 p.m. Peak viewing time is at 2:45 p.m. Other activities include botanical sun prints, testing out a pinhole viewer for observing the eclipse, painting with water and watching it evaporate, sun salutations with yoga instructor Michelle Israel and more. Included with Garden admission which is $8 to $13. For details, visit http://bit.ly/SolarECLIPSE. Full text

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