Cicely Mary Barker's Holly Fairy


O, I am green in Winter-time,
When other trees are brown;
Of all the trees (So saith the rhyme)
The holly bears the crown.
December days are drawing near
When I shall come to town,
And carol-boys go singing clear
Of all the trees (O hush and hear!)
The holly bears the crown!

For who so well-beloved and merry
As the scarlet Holly Berry?

 
   

Holly (ilex aquifolium)

 

Holly is an evergreen with shiny, deep green leaves edged with spines, clusters of small white flowers and round red berries.  It grows through Europe, Asia, the United States and North Africa. Hollies grow well in well-draining soil with a high organic content.

 

Holly has been used in Western ritual and religious life for thousands of years.  Druids and other ancient European people decorated their dwellings with the leaves and berries during the winter solstice.  Romans exchanged holly branches during the December festival, Saturnalia, a tradition adopted by early Christians.  Native Americans used a variety of holly ceremonially. It is rarely used medicinally today.

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