Christmas just around the corner, the Woodland
Trust simply couldn’t let our well-known
and well-loved holly tree go without a mention.
This evergreen shrub or small tree is a firm
favourite; it is visually attractive and instantly
recognisable, even by the youngest of nature
is guaranteed to brighten up any garden and,
thankfully, you need not have a huge garden
to accommodate this species. You can enjoy the
beauty of the individual tree or plant it as
a hedge; the slow-growing holly will provide
a wonderfully dense and protective boundary.
WTPL/Peter Paice from Belfast
distinctive leaves are bright or dark green,
tough and spiny. From October, the (female)
tree shows off its ripe fruit – brilliant
clusters of scarlet berries. Did you know that
holly trees are either male or female? Both
produce fragrant small white flowers, but only
the female bears berries. The berries are popular
with many birds and they will help decide just
how long the fruit may stay on the tree!
right: WTPL/Rosanna Ballentine
course, it’s not just our feathered friends
who have a keen interest in the berries. Each
Christmas we use sprigs of holly to decorate
and brighten our homes and this has in fact
been common practice for centuries. At one time,
holly sprigs in the home were believed to ward
off evil spirits. The tree’s mystic or
sacred associations seem to have continued through
to modern times and, even today, some would
consider it unlucky to cut down a holly tree.
your holly between November and March. This
beautiful tree may be slow growing but it’s
definitely well worth the wait.
Paice from Belfast
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