Now that the winter is here, the trees and plants are dying back, and over the winter many of the plants that we admire take a back seat – and this is where we have the opportunity to admire other plants. Winter foliage is something that many of enjoy, as it is that bright green light in the dark, and something that cheers us up in these darker months, when much of nature is taking a rest.
There are many evergreen plants and trees that we associate with the winter months, and the popular ritual of bringing a Christmas tree into the home is something that goes back thousands of years, to our ancestors who also decorated the home with signs of hope in the dark winter months. Going to somewhere like this real Christmas tree Leicester based farm https://welfordchristmastreefarm.co.uk/ to choose a tree is actually something that has been part of life for many years.
However, it is also fun to go into the woods and spot plants that you can use for decoration at this time of year – if you do this remember not to take too much, as the birds and other animals will rely on them in the winter. Here are three of our popular native plants that have long been used in festive decorating…
Holly – This is a well known and instantly recognisable plant – from its bright red berries to its dark green glossy leaves. Holly benefits wildlife by giving them a safe place to take shelter amongst the thorny leaves and also provides food for birds in the winter. It is one of the most popular winter plants to bring into the home and to use as décor – why not make yourself some holly table centrepieces for your festive feast?
Ivy – A plant that is hardy and determined, ivy is seen in abundance in the winter. As the trees shed their leaves, the dark pointed ivy leaves can be seen in most woodlands, making their way up the trees. Many people think that it suffocates and even strangles the trees but in fact it works with them and also supports many insects and animals of its own. It was used by the Romans for making a wreath to be worn around the head, and the Greeks also presented ivy wreaths to athletes who had won.
Mistletoe – This special plant has long been associated with the festive season – the ancient druids revered it, as it was seen to come from the heavens, due to the fact it had no roots in the earth and appeared at midwinter. A ray of hope and a mystical plant, the berries symbolised fertility which is why we now have the tradition of kissing underneath the mistletoe. If you are cutting it to bring it to your home, they say not to let it touch the ground, as the magic will then be lost.