Tuesday, December 23, 2008


When Christmas cards arrive from England I am always struck by how many of them have a robin. The English robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus) is quite different from his American namesake. He is about the size of our wren and behaves in a similar manner, flitting from branch to branch in a friendly manner. He is a year round visitor to the garden but his red breast stands out in the snowy garden. This November a robin followed us as we hiked along a trail in the Lake District. He just stayed still long enough to for me to snap a photograph of him. 

When I was a child we always cut holly to bring into the house but mistletoe was something we had to buy. A bunch of mistletoe would dangle from the light in the hallway. The usually reserved British were apparently open to kisses as this time of the year! Now, we have mistletoe growing in huge bunches from our live oak trees. They tend to favor apple and oak trees. I have even read in English garden magazines how to take the berries and push them into a crack in the tree bark in order to grow your own little parasite! 
It is easy to see how these plants were looked upon as special in the winter garden. The evergreen holly and mistletoe with their red and white berries and the robin with his red breast. They brought a little brightness into the winter home.
I hope your garden has something to offer the Christmas home- be it pine cones, seed heads, ivy or berries. Greetings of the Season to gardener's everywhere.


  1. Merry Christmas and greetings of the season to you as well! Thanks for sharing about your holidays in England. We also had a ball of mistletoe (it was plastic) hanging in our entryway at my parents' house in Indiana.

    I've got a post working with links to some of the holiday posts around the garden blogosphere, and just added a link to this post. It fits right in.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. This really cheered me up on this dreary day and challenged me to find something from our yard.

    I've decided I'll tie up some lavender cuttings in bright ribbon and hang them somewhere. Or maybe just stick them in a vase.

    Thanks and cheers!

  3. Hiya Jenny,

    What a lovely post.

    Best wishes for the season.

    Your Christmas Card is here.

  4. For years, as I read about robins in books like Peter Rabbit and the Secret Garden, I wondered why robins were drawn incorrectly. They didn't look like robins at all! Finally I realized that the American robin and the English robin are completely different birds, and I felt quite cheated that we didn't have the cute little red-breast of the children's stories.

    Merry Christmas, Jenny! I'm so glad you joined us in the blogosphere this year.

  5. Beautiful cards! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  6. I had no idea that English robins are different than American robins! I don't notice robins much down here, but when I lived in Wisconsin, everyone talked about it when we saw the first robin in spring. :)