Everyone's attention is turning to Christmas this week, so I thought I'd share some of my favourite parts of our celebrations.
Mistletoe is as important as holly in the practice and folklore of Christmas. I've always wanted to have some in the garden and it's really worth a try. All you do is imitate a bird and wipe the berry or its seed onto a branch.
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The stickiness of the pulp should glue the seed to the branch. Some people cut the bark and insert the seed, but mistletoe is evolved to do that. Though it's semi-parasitic, mistletoe is now recognised as being a boon to wildlife, since it attracts so many birds that also feast on other nearby berries and spread them around too.
Whether you live in a city or out in the country, Christmas is the
Carol's forging ahead this week with preparations for the festive season at her Glebe Cottage home
perfect time to do some tree spotting. It's a great game for children, too, and very satisfying when you guess right. Every tree has a distinctive outline, and the form and arrangement of branches is characteristic too. Sometimes it can be a bit of a detective story, but it beats hands down counting red cars and silver cars.
It's so vital to involve children in the natural world. The more aware of it they are, the greater the chance of them working to conserve it.
Feed the birds
Feeding the birds is an essential part of the Christmas ritual. Christmas dinner should be for all visitors, including those to the garden, and it's vital to do whatever we can to ensure that
Spot the tree silhouette
as many of them stay alive as possible. They can share in most leftovers, but as a vegetarian I couldn't condone cannibalism, so perhaps the turkey should go
in the soup. Here, they'll have to make do with their usual rations and some cold frizzled spud.
Yule logs are part of the Christmas tradition but in these days of central heating have almost died out.
Instead of my usual diary, here are several Christmas plants that remind me of this time ofyear.