Monthly Archives: December 2013

Holiday traditions are fun and we look forward to their season. They mark time and renews our beliefs, not only in others, but also in ourselves.

It is greening time in the Shire Garden and for as long as I have lived and my families have been celebrating, greening time is met with great joy.  Every third week of December around the 21 st we venture  forth to gather fresh evergreens for the house and garden.

Some of us couldn’t possibly conceive of a Christmas without evergreens. They give the deepest pleasure and warmth throughout the holiday season. Not to mention the walks and adventurous stories they bring.


Our adventures begin with the cutting of the firs and spruces. We prune small branches from many different areas around the trees as to keep their shapes and appearance good. These greens will remind us of strength.

The holly is next and with great joy we give thanks to its protection  It will reminds us of a safe home and the color it brings to our decoration will heighten our awareness. We will prune many types like green and white variegated with it bright red fruit, the small Japanese holly with its black fruit and the golden berry holly for it colors of green and gold.

Then we cut pine with the softness it will bring and the cones of plenty that we will use thought-out our holiday show. It will remind us of soft moments and to keep them well.


The ivy comes next and will tie us all together as a reminder that life is circular and like the seasons are sure of return, this holds us together and life is complete.


We  return to Acorn Cottage and lie the greens about us on the floor to choose of them what will be used for the wreaths and garlands and what will be used in greening window boxes and pots. While this is happening I will go to the garden and prune arms full of winter berries, ( Ilex – verticillata ) which brings the feeling of Christmas home.

Reminder that cut greens if used to far in advance to the holiday will dry out and fade. So replace dried material with fresh and always watch for fire hazards.

The greening day ends with hot egg nog and carols as they are placed about the mantel and shelves and tables. How festive the house and gardens look and how full my heart is with soul.


Here from The Garden Shire we wish all a safe, healthy and magical holiday and a wonderous New Year!

A thought; If you were to start a tradition what would it be?

Through the many years of my gardening, stories and tales of flowers and plants have come to me by way of visitors, fellow gardeners and books. Over those years these stories and folklore have given a new life to the garden and a deeper connection to the plants themselves, making them almost human and my bond between them stronger. Each time I walk through the garden and notice a certain plant or flower I remember the story that brings it to life and it hold a place in my heart as well as in the garden.

I want to bring to your attention to, two books: Wildflower Folklore and Garden Flower Folklore, Both written by Laura C. Martin.  These are a fun and quick read, filled with all kinds if information. They were given to me by a much older gardening friend who believes that with the coming of age, wisdom is bestowed and found in the simplest of things. This older friend also knows of my love of story telling while in the garden and thought this the perfect gift. He was right!

I often find myself thirsting for the stories that tell of a plants history, culture and myths. How they get their names and the stories behind those names.

These two books, filled that thirst, everything is met, with a brief description of each plant and basic growing instructions, the family name, genus and more. A true wealth of information and a fun read. Get these books and increase your knowledge of plants. You will want to read them over and over again it’s that good.

A good gardener is wise to fill their thoughts with such stories and information as I believe it brings a greater depth to gardening.  Knowledge without feeling and meaning, are all three individually, shallow and would leave a lot to be desired.

Make these books a gift to your winter reading list, and believe again in the world around us that is so special.

A thought; Folklore, myths and legends bring a new level to knowledge.

The other evening a great owl took off from the Oak Grove trees as I approached. I’d heard him many nights as I lie in bed, so it was a pleasure to greet the old fellow, even for that fleeting moment.

It’s a majestic spectacle to view the trees silhouetted black against the deep blue sky, the trees make me feel a little humbled as I realize how proudly they stand against the elements which the seasons thrust upon them.

For me its a natural instinct to stoop and pick up an acorn or two for my pocket, but, by now most have been eaten or destroyed by the squirrels, rendering most, less beautiful.

I use this time alone to polish up old dreams and to consider mental notes I’ve stored throughout the past year, if for only old-time sake. Like things I planned to do, but never got around to, and most likely won’t this year either. Now I try to really reflect on the holidays and the last-minute things to do.

Nature is carrying on in her magical way, reshaping the view, sounds and sent, without much fanfare. The pines have dropped their cones and shed their needles again, right on schedule., The seeds have fallen and a blanket of snow will soon shelter them. Everything is there, all in place, revitalizing itself for the spring. Everything stands still…..

I hope you will make time in your daily lives for some simple observance of all that is truly beautiful around you. Nature is never dull it is full of life and wonder.

I often wonder if my thoughts, while in the garden, are a bore to my readers, for they are only thoughts and observances to hopefully give the world insight into who this gardener is.

A thought; Simple thought, quite moments, is oneness, revel in it.