It’s a long time till Christmas

Nevertheless Holly berries are ripening in the hedgerow and if they want to ripen now then now is when we have to photograph them.

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly BerriesSo what can I say about Holly that everyone doesn’t already know?

This is Ilex aquifolium commonly called English Holly or European Holly. It is dioecious, which means that there are different male and female trees and you can not tell them apart until they start to flower at four years or later. Sometimes they don’t flower until they are about ten years old.

Obviously you don’t get berries on the male tree. You will only get berries on a female tree if there are some male trees nearby so if you have a Holly tree that doesn’t fruit it may just be lonely.

The fruit is a valuable source of winter food for birds and small mammals but they don’t normally start to eat the berries until there have been a few frosts to soften them. The berries are mildly poisonous to Humans causing rum tum and bum stuff at both ends.

It is a popular Christmas decoration. Did you know that? It keeps Goblins and Devils out of your house too.

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly BerriesWell those berries will have to last a long time because it doesn’t feel like winter here yet. We have had a few days of very nice late summer weather.

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

Holly BerriesWe had to make two trips to the Holly to get all of those berry pictures. We couldn’t carry them all on the first trip and then as a special treat I took Fizz up Badger Alley to see how our camera was doing.

No Joy I’m afraid. No unusual monsters. There were Rats and Squirrels. A Sparrowhawk sat in the nest and plucked it’s prey. That should have been an excellent video but it was daytime and the infra red lights came on causing it to be almost a white out. There were plenty of Badgers as you might expect in Badger Alley and prowling around at night in amongst the Badgers was a little ginger Cat.


I know that it is ginger because it made a brief appearance in the daytime. I have left the camera out there because we still haven’t seen what made that nest. I am sure that it is not a Cat nest. 🙂

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38 thoughts on “It’s a long time till Christmas”

  1. It’s amazing what cats get up to at night. The holly berries look really plump and healthy. We have a number of holly bushes/trees in our garden but never any berries. Lots of waxy white flowers in the spring/summer. I think I’d better introduce a new friend for them and set up a holly dating agency.

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    1. Thank you Clare 🙂 There are no cats on the farm but any time after midnight that I open my door there is a cat in the farmyard. I would really have liked to see how that cat got on with the Badgers. Just one of those little things that we don’t often see. There is still time 🙂

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      1. Forgot to say, Holly trees can root from the branches when they touch the ground. As these new trees were created solely from the parent tree I guess that they would be the same sex. So a group of trees might be all the same sex. You would have to photograph the flowers to find out what sex they are. A group of females wouldn’t berry if there were no males around 🙂 So they could be either sex.

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  2. Well, piffle. I never knew holly would keep away devils and goblins! Here in the U.S., we should be decking our halls with boughs of holly later this month for Halloween. Do you happen to know if I’ll need boughs with berries or will berryless boughs work as well?

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  3. They played “last christmas I gave you my heart but the very next day you gave it away tralalalaaaa” (yeah I’m singing it) in the radio today, I swear it’s true! So hey it seems your berries listen to my radio 🙂

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    1. Thanks Becky 🙂 I don’t have radio or TV. I have song birds and Owls and crazy Foxes. I am going to miss all of those wonderful old Christmas songs (I hope) 🙂 Christmas seems to start earlier every year.

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  4. Beautiful berry pictures. I enjoyed your video. Badgers seem like really exotic creatures to me. The only experience I have ever had is seeing them in childrens’ books. How lucky you are!

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  5. Lovely series of images. We had some Holly in our garden when I was a child, but I don’t remember seeing any berries. Since it’s not indigenous to Australia, I can only assume it was bought out from the UK in the early settlement a couple hundred years ago.

    (Gotta love those images of Fizz – that dog is just so photogenic).

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    1. Thanks Vicki 🙂 I read that Holly is considered an invasive species in your part of the world but it probably isn’t a major problem. Even in it’s homeland it is quite sparse and doesn’t really overcrowd other plants.

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    1. Thanks Lindy 🙂 All of the Badgers are looking very well fed at this time of year. There is lots of sheep pasture and the close cropped grass and generally wet weather is perfect for hunting worms. There is also an abundance of berries and nuts and corn. I am happy to see them doing well 🙂

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  6. We have hollies in our front yard. We keep them cut back pretty small because the former land owners planted them so close to the house. I did once see a pair that grew wild and they grew taller than the houses near them. I was pretty amazed- i had no idea how these looked when they went all natural without active pruning. It makes me wonder what other plants look like if they were allowed to grow their own way as well. In the meantime, I keep our hollies cut way back. In the winter the deer stand on my porch and help with that.

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    1. Thanks Lora 🙂 Technically they can live for five hundred years and grow to twenty five metres but most of them don’t. The leaves, especially the ones at the top of the tree, that often hang down, are great Deer food when there isn’t much green about.

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  7. I love Holly! It is called Kristtorn in norwegian. Krist is of course for Christ, who is called Kristus in norwegian, or rather Jesus Kristus, and torn means thorn, the legend goes that this is the wreath Jesus had around his head when he died on the cross, and the berries are red because of his blood. That is why we in norway use it for Christmas decoration. And I also love the flowers that come on the Holly trees, they smell amazing!! 🙂

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  8. Love it! My holly berries are also ripening, it’s the first time we’ve had holly berries so maybe it’s finally realised there’s another holly bush on the other side of the garden! 😛
    Beautiful badgers!

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  9. As usual, your photos are gorgeous! And capturing Fizz running with the ball is perfect. I love that photo of her the best of any so far. I had a crazy dream the other night that your landlady came to visit me and brought Fizz to give to me. I was so excited till I thought how much you would miss her and that I would miss seeing her photos that you post. I told her to take Fizz back to you. Crazy dream! Happy Trails!

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    1. Thanks Sandi 🙂 Fizz doesn’t belong to me and one day I will probably have to leave her and not look back. This weekend Margaret has been whisked away for a weekend break and I have been left in charge. Let us enjoy the day 🙂

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      1. Aww. I hope that’s a long time in coming. I can’t imagine you without Fizz or Fizz without you. So yes, let’s enjoy the day. Today is all we really have anyway. Happy Trails!

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  10. I saw a fabulous Sparrowhawk (prob. female – quite big) in Warlingham today, gently gliding at high level. And yes the holly around here is producing plenty of berries.

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