Thursday, 10 December 2009

Holly and Ivy

Another Christmas theme today (you'll all be sick of it soon). As we walked around what remains of the 'American Adventure' site this morning, we were doing our best to avoid the larger of the puddles and the worst of the mud and to enjoy the glorious sunshine. I was wondering what to make the subject of today's blog entry. Then, seeing many large Holly trees and lots of Ivy in amongst the undergrowth, made the decision for me. Earlier, during the Autumn, this particular Holly (Ilex aquifolium) tree was covered with berries....
But now it is almost completely bare but still shiny green in the sunlight.
Ivy (Hedera helix) is a strange plant as the young leaves are very different in shape from the mature leaves on larger plants. Here the young ones sprawl across the ground and have white veins through the dark green leaves.
When it eventually makes it to a tree and begins to cover the trunks with it's maturing stems and leaves, they are quite differently shaped, more heart-like.
Malcolm suggested I should make a recording of him singing 'The Holly and the Ivy' to accompany this entry but as he has a croaky throat at the moment and sounds like Lee Marvin singing 'Wandering Star', I thought he should rest his voice for a future rendition. Besides which, he didn't think too much of my idea of changing the wording to reflect the Latin names. 'The Ilex and the Hedera' doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Holly and Ivy have had strong links to the Winter and Christmas season for hundreds of years. Druids associated Holly with the winter Solstice and both were seen in their bright greenery, as resisting the harshness of the Winter weather. The carol itself probably dates from the early 18th Century.
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