Sunday, December 20, 2015
Holly and Ivy have long been associated with Christmas celebration, although their association with this time of the year predates Christmas, being used in Winter pagan celebrations. Holly symbolises truth, and its thorns have sometimes been associated with the thorny crown of Christ. Ivy symbolises strength and protection - something to cling to.
We have planted holly throughout Badger's wood, and will certainly plant holly bushes and ivy around the chapel along with the roses.
Above and below: Holly bushes / hedges at Kew Gardens, taken on previous trip.
Holly berries contain a xanthine compound similar to caffeine, which in small doses is a mild stimulant, but in larger doses can cause a variety of toxic symptoms. This is one of the reasons it seems to keep it's berries long after other trees have lost them to birds, although after a decent frost this compound is broken down a little and they become less toxic.
Here are two of my favourite arrangements of the traditional carol "The Holly and The Ivy", the first by Walford Davies...