Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Why does the Holly Tree play an important part in Christmas tradition?

Holly Tree for Christmas.

Flowering in May, the holly tree is a dioecious plant (both male and female plants) and is prized throughout history for having distinctive dark shiny green leaves and red berries. Supporting wildlife during the winter months with it's berries, winter food for many berry eating birds (poisonous to humans). Festive imagery of the holly tree was introduced to Christmas cards during Victorian times, though association with the festive period dates back to pagan times when it was customary to bring holly boughs to desk out the home.

Traditional holly, Ilex Awuifolium, is good for security around boundaries. It is the traditional Christmas holly with bright red berries that many of us are familiar with.


Further varieties of holly include Ilex Alaska, Ilex Golden King, Ilex aquifolium Gold Flash, Ilex aquifolium Ferox Argentea, Ilex J C Van Tol, Ilex Madame Briot, Ilex meserveae Blue Angel and Ilex Silver Queen.

The holly tree connection with Christmas is towards the Christian symbolism connecting the prickly leaves of the holly with Jesus' crown of it's thorns and berries with the drops of his blood shed for human salvation. It is also recorded that before the 1800's, that a Christmas tree was in fact actually a holly tree, not a common fir tree as many of us are used to today. Throughout history, Holly has been used to symbolize the likes of holiness to gaining revenge, beauty, goodwill, health and peace. Holly was believed to be an effective charm to ward off witches, bad spirits and ill-fortune and for this reason it was often planted close to homes and outbuildings.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

What festive plants to have for your home at Christmas?

Christmas is a great time of year to decorate your home, 'of course' you all say, but when it comes to plants, what selection do you have to choose from to give your home that festive feel? Christmas trees are now in massive demand with families all across the UK visiting markets, DIY stores and ordering their focal point piece online. We have already spoken about Christmas trees in a past blog, now let's look at some other plants for Christmas:


This really does define the festive period as much as the daffodil represents spring.

The Poinsettia's brightly coloured red bracts are often mistakenly thought to be flowers, which are in fact the small insignificant yellow buds in the centre.


Vaccinium 'Red Candy'

This is a small berried plant offers clusters of pink flushed white flowers which then offer attractive shiny red berries which really stand out nicely in any display at home over Christmas. Not forgetting that the fruit it offers are very tasty and can be used to make cranberry sauce, a traditional sauce to accompany any Christmas day turkey roast.

Originating from the Artic and alpine regions of Northern Europe and North America - An incredibly tough and robust plant.

Helleborus niger

A plant that is very much of the Christmas tradition, offering pure white flowers along with golden stamens which act as beacons of light in the garden during the bare winter months. These make a charming centrepiece for your dinner table during the festive season and also make a great small floral gift for when visiting friends and families over Christmas.


This plant offers plenty of sparkle and scent for your home at Christmas, their energy packed bulbs are specially coaxed to flower throughout the Christmas period and well in to the New Year. These offer white and a frenzy of pink with unmistakable fragrance - Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Hyacinths!

Skimmia Magic Marlot

Magic Marlot offers excellent colouration from autumn into spring and good winter hardiness, a unique and successful plant for a variety of garden situations. It is highly ornamental over a long period, and surprises everyone with each colour-change.

At Christmas time the festive colouration also makes them a superb gift for any one! They can be enjoyed indoors for a couple of weeks before popping outside in to the garden. Place these plants potted on the Christmas dinning table to give great colour and life!

Trouble free house plants, perfect gifts for the festive season and a great flower to have around the home in amongst the Christmas decorations and atmosphere. Great for table decorations on Christmas day itself, these great plants offer many more buds to come that continue to bloom for as long as three months - Great value plant / flower for you home.

Cyclamen have attractive green marbled foliage, and this one of the toughest Cyclamen for the home taking low temperatures, and even recovering quickly from light wilting with out any damage if it gets too dry.

Dendrobium Nobilis

The ultimate house plant, Superb, long lasting value and ideal for the Christmas period for your home. If you normally buy cut flowers for your home, or just love the idea of an exotic house plant, you'll absolutely adore this stunning scented 'Dendrobium' Orchid. Not only are the blooms beautifully fragrant, they're incredibly long lasting too - up to 15 weeks a year!

With it's long lasting blooms, the Dendrobium nobilis orchid with its impressive column of white flower clusters makes a fantastic gift at any time of the year. The sophisticated and stylish look of the snowy white twinkling blooms are especially popular at Christmas time.

These trees make a great decoration for the festive season, in a porchway for example as one enters the home and docarated with Christmas lights they are sure to get noticed and receive compliments. All year round they provide a high-class property enhancing look, and can be used in place of where the popular bay tree is often paraded.
Competing with the Holly tree in popularity for Christmas displays outside homes across the country, the Bay tree will instantly transform the appearance of any garden or home frontage (formally in pairs beside your doorway of next to a flight of steps).
Perfect for positioning in formal gardens or courtyards or as statement on terraces, balconies and patios where the glossy, green leaves provide all year foliage interest and structure. During the festive period you will see these Buxus balls decorated in lights and offering a great festive feel to any front garden and patio area.