Tuesday, 20 April 2021

That reminds me...


I found this Holly bush in the woods several years ago. We didn't have one at home, so I pulled it from the ground, and brought the tiny plant back. It has now grown into a strapping bush, of over 15 ft high.


I've just noticed that it's covered in flowers. It has never born berries, so I'd always imagined that it was a male plant. However, all those flowers give me hope (not that we'll be here this Christmas).

The bush always reminds me of an event during my time spent living in Shropshire in the early 1980's.

A burley pugilistic member of the 'travelling community' had squatted on a small field at the bottom of our orchard, and without any planning permission, had begun to build a bungalow. 

We'd exchanged words, and I was extremely fortunate to have escaped unscathed.

A couple of days before Christmas that same year, I went down to the bottom of the orchard to pick a few branches of Holly for the house; it had been covered in berries, and looked splendid

When I arrived at the tree with my secateurs, I found that the WHOLE tree had been cut down at the base and taken away; I could see remnants of my tree spread all over the garden of the 20 stone thug who'd threatened to tear out my giblets and feed them to his nice dog.

My Holly was probably already being displayed in houses across the county, as I surveyed the destruction.

There was nothing I could do, other than to curse a bit. Rules don't apply to certain people in the UK, and we had one of them living very close by!

 I wonder if our bush will ever have berries; maybe those flowers are male flowers.

35 comments:

  1. I suppose it is sods law that it will flower while you are in England this year.

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    1. Just our luck, but somehow I think it's never going to have berries. I have fake berries that I tie on to berry-less branches.

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  2. The Roma used to, probably still will,sell branches of Holly in our markets at Christmas. It's not something I'd want in the house. May look nice on a Xmas card but it's very prickly. It grows wild around here but to 15ft!!

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    1. Ours is well over twice my height. We always have Holly indoors for Christmas; I'm surprised you don't.

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  3. Crikey. And I thought our neighbours were a nuisance!
    We bought two small Holly trees many years ago and brought them home in the back of the car. They have now grown to around 15ft too and sport berries in the winter. I usually cut a few twigs with berries and pop them into a vase of water for the dining room at Christmas.

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    1. This neighbour was more than a nuisance; he was also untouchable too. They are a law unto themselves, and no-one is prepared to 'upset' them.

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  4. Our new home has Holly trees (and a good Holly hedge) around it and is named for these (in Welsh). We would always pick sprigs of Holly to dress the house with (on top of picture frames) at our old house. At least the birds will appreciate the berries this winter.

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    1. I can't imagine not having Holly and Ivy in the house at Christmas. And a tree of course!

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  5. We have a constant battle with our neighbour's 15 foot holly bush. Our garden is south-east of theirs so it grows into ours. It also fills with sparrow nests so we have to hack it back hard before spring.

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    1. They do get quite big, so I can understand it being a nuisance.

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  6. Birds in your vicinity will also be looking at the holly bush and hoping for a good crop of berries.

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    1. We have an ancient Hawthorn tree that is covered with berry-bearing Ivy. The birds love that.

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  7. We have a fair amount of holly in our hedges, but not many berries. It still looks good in the house, and we give our neighbour some for church decoration.

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    1. We know a nearby house that has a Holly hedge. In winter it's almost totally RED with the berries. Meanwhile ours has none.

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  8. I do not understand why gypsies are treated differently to anyone else in the UK. How can anyone just trespass on land that is not theirs?

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    1. I think as long as they're not creating a mountain of rubbish, or starting a scrap yard, they prefer to leave them alone. Anything for a quiet life. Getting them out can take years and cost a fortune!

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    2. Yes, the process of getting trespassers out is what I am talking about. Is there some kind of soft policy for them?

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    3. Gypsies and Travellers trespassing are evicted. This happens all the time here and they are moved on. Permanent sites have been provided when Britain did as they were told by the EU. Other EU countries, notably France, have not complied with this. The soft approach is more where stolen goods are known to be on Travellers sites and the Police are reluctant to go in and confront.

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  9. My daughter and son in law sold their caravan to gypsies in Italy and it was a funny story. Your story doesn't strike me as funny at all. I can't imagine having squatters and no legal recourse.

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    1. My personal confrontation with the man in question was quite shocking. When I later recounted the tale to some friends, they said I must have crazy even to go near him!

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  10. We have a variegated Holly ( about 6ft, really pretty but no berries ) and lots of plain green Holly that seeds itself everywhere ( but no berries !!!! ) one is pretty big and is part of our boundary. My sisters house is called Holly House ! XXXX

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    1. I presume it's a question of Male/Female. I fear mine is a useless Male.

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  11. I know there is something about the sexuality of holly bushes and you need both in order to have berries but that is as far as mmy knowledge goes.

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    1. I suspect it is something like that. It's been here for about 20 years, and never a single berry.

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  12. Male and female holly bushes produce flowers but only females go on to produce berries and you do need a male and female for that.

    As you said Cro, chances are you have a male bush that happens to be in flower at the moment. How about planting a couple of small holly bushes next to it? You’ll have a 3 in 4 chance of one of the little bushes being female

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    1. If I find another in the woods, I'll plant it nearby. Otherwise I'll have to stick to my faux-berries.

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  13. A traveller moved in to live with the girl in the house next to me for a while. Fortunately one of my neighbours in an ex commando who was not frightened of him and won the argument the traveller and the girl sold up and moved away.

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    1. This guy was a BRUTE. In fact I don't think I'd ever encountered a more aggressive person.

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  15. I have two Holly trees and both get berries. I suspect that my neighbor has the male. We are not that close by, but Mother Nature has her ways. I do hate trimming those bushes a few times in the summer as they are prickly.

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    1. Sounds like you're lucky; apart from the prickles. One has to have Holly berries at Christmas.

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