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» Grow Traditional Christmas Plants

How Did I Do It? > Holidays & Celebrations > Grow Traditional Christmas Plants
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We have several plants that are used or grown by us as a tradition of Christmas but they are in reality beautiful all year round. This year, cultivate your own Christmas plants, planting one and keeping it year round in your garden. In this fashion you will eliminate the need to purchse holly for your wreaths and mistletoe for the traditional hanging bunches.

Mistletoe was used by the Druids, 200 years prior to the birth of Christ. The Druids were a group of men who were storytellers, law givers and learned men who revered the plant because it had no roots, yet remained green all winter.
The ancient Keltoi attributed magical healing properties to mistletoe and believed it to be the antidote for some kinds of poison, a helper for fertility and to ward off evil. It was also seen as a symbol of peace and it was said among the Romans that enemies who met under the mistletoe would lay aside their weaponry and embrace.

In Scandinavia it was associated with Frigga, a goddess of love, and those who kissed beneath it woudhave the promise of good luck and love in the coming year.

Mistletoe is not at all difficult to grow and makes a beautiful hedge plant. Mistletoe was used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. They revered the plant since it had no roots yet remained green during the cold months of winter.

The ancient Celtics believed mistletoe to have magical healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility, and to ward of evil spirits. The plant was also seen as a symbol of peace, and it is said that among Romans, enemies who met under mistletoe would lay down their weapons and embrace.

Scandanavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love, and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Those who kissed under the mistletoe had the promise of happiness and good luck in the following year.

Mistletoe is an evergreen parasitic plant, growing on the branches of trees, where it forms bushes, 2 to 5 feet in diameter. It will grow and has been found on almost any deciduous tree, preferring those with soft bark, and is commonest on old apple trees, however it can as well be grown as a shrub in soil.

While Mistletoe can live as a plant in soil if you plant the seeds in very rich soil such as beneath an oak or ash tree. and keep it evenly moist. Mistletoe seeds are spread by birds who carry seeds stuck on their feet or beaks, and who deposit it in their droppings across a forest. Mistletoe can spread so much across a tree that it can weaken, or even kill it’s host.

Mistletoe makes a remarkable ground cover shrub but it does, as many shrubberies do, have poisonous aspects of it, notably the berries.

HOLLY:

In Northern Europe Christmas occurred during the middle of winter, when ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, believed to have magical powers since they remained green through the harsh winter, were often placed over the doors of homes to drive evil spirits away from the door and the greenery was carried inside to brighten moods and freshen the air.

Holly is a beautiful plant which can be grown almost anywhere . Most holly are evergreen and have red berries which attract birds, squirrels and deer.

Choose your holly carefully. They will range in size from 6 inches to 70 feet tall. While many aren’t hardy to some US zones there are hollies that will survive in the cold northern winters if you protect them from the cold and very drying winds.

The holly which we see at Christmas is the English holly. In order to produce berries the female holly plant needs a male plant growing within 40 feet away. Holly plants enjoy full sun, well drained organic acidic soil. Hollies need to be pruned to produce a plant with lots of leaves. They can be shaped to almost any geometrical design and will make an excellent topiary in fact. Just prune back the tips of the current seasons growth any time after late summer throughout autumn and winter.

Mulch holly to keep it weed free. Hollies don’t like to be transplanted. Buy small plants and plant them in their permanent position. You may want to purchase more than one or two and make a hedge of holly if you plan on pruning it back for the holiday so that it is not hacked beyond repair each year.

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