Antiquity may excuse many things, but not bad verse. How grown-up people can stand and sing the old carol about the holly and the ivy in all seriousness, I don’t know: “The Holly and the Ivy, when they are both full-grown…Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.”
What has ‘full-grown’ got to do with it? And when did ivy qualify as a tree? And why do we have running deer suddenly appearing later on? Beats me…
But when you have a tree laden with holly berries, the effect is goodHolly has been seeding itself all over of late. It never used to. But there are small seedlings all over my patch of woodland and they will grow fast. Quite apart from the prickles, holly is dangerous stuff to have around, as any trailing tip will root, and there will be a horrible thicket before you know where you are. It does burn with a satisfactory crackle, though.
It’s still too mild for comfort. I need frost to stop the primulas rotting, but we are not getting it. The winter-flowering primulas are early. Here is p.moupinensis – which should not really be out before Christmas:Primula sonchifolia has lost all the cabbage-like leaves of summer and has reverted to its large egg-shaped resting buds. It really needs to be covered by snow. In January or February it will push out half-hidden heads of pale blue flowers:I’ve never had a lot of time for seed heads as decorative objects, but I make an exception for the various types of cow-parsley. The structure is such a brilliant way of getting every last flower into the sun.Now the azalea leaves are gone, the clumps of lichen which have grown on their branches become visible. Lichen is supposed to be a sign of pollution-free air. I’m pleased if that is so.