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Posts from the ‘Holly’ Category

Decking a Tudor Hall

I’m well into the decoration groove now, trying to ignore the swamp outside the door. Today a fountain of liquid mud squirted above my wellies onto my jeans while I was getting the hay for the cows. The poor things were so keen to get something dry in their systems that they started eating the barrow of straw I was dispensing to try and mop up the quagmire beneath their feet.

On the plus side I remembered a visit to the tudor house Cothele last year and I thought I’d just share some pictures of these lovely decorations which they do every christmas.  They use 20,000 dried flowers for the garland, which are all grown in the garden. I apologise for the slightly out of focus ones, it was an amazing light and I didn’t want to use flash.

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A Holly for the Solstice


It’s the time to bring in the holly!

Fellow blogger Linda gives a nice explanation of what solstice means in her latest post, among other lovely words and a song.

Holly in Hedge

The Holly is identified

This year it’s a bit lopsided and spindly, maybe because of the sunless summer. But never mind, the bare bit will go in the corner.

Holly has been symbolically important for centuries, though I have to admit our reasons for having it as a festive tree are tinged, along with a love of it, with the practical – it’s there, it’s beautiful…and we’ve got a saw.

Cutting Holly

Friend Pete does the business

Cutting Holly

Festive tree taking shape


‘As the indigenous pagan traditions mixed with those of the pagan Romans, gifts of holly were given during the five day festival of Saturnalia, which celebrated the birth of the sun-god and culminated when the sun moved into the zodiacal sign of Capricorn at the precise astronomical time of the Winter Solstice. The power of these pagan celebrations on or about the 22nd December and their effect on the people were well recognized by the Church, and so they closely aligned the birth of Christ, on 25th December, to the pagan date. In Christian legend holly sprang up from under Christ’s feet as he walked upon earth, and in certain parts of Europe holly is still called ‘Christ’s thorn, for it was believed that its thorny leaves and bright red berries symbolized Christ’s suffering and foretold the passion.’

‘One of the strongest legendary images we have of holly is that of the holly king. This image, featured in the medieval renaissance of the twelfth century, evolved from an ancient recognition of the spirit of vegetation, traditionally represented as a wild-looking man covered in branches and foliage: the legendary Wildman….The holly king was symbolised by a giant man covered in holly branches and leaves, who carried a holly bush as his club. He represents the tenacity of life, the green of Nature carried through the seasons and guarded by his spiky holly club, his light reflecting ‘mirrored’ leaves and his fiery-red berries…’

Holly King

These last two paragraphs are from Tree Wisdom – The definitive guidebook to the myth, folklore and healing power of Trees a book by Jacqueline Memory Paterson.   if they pay their tax of course 🙂

And Science on the Land has just linked to an interesting post about Christmas being nothing to do with jesus.

Anyway the cows seemed to get quite excited by the holly, I had to rescue it pretty sharpish.

Traditional English Hereford Heifers with Holly

Yum yum

Traditional English Hereford Heifers

Time for a distraction

Here it is waiting to go inside

Holly by the Door

In position

Festive Holly Tree

Festive Feet

Getting in the mood for decorating – yep, that’s mud…so much of it!

Box of Christmas Decorations

Ah, the first sight of old favourites..

Et voila!

Festive Holly Tree

Knitted Reindeer

x x A very Merry Solstice and Christmas to all! x x

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