Posts Tagged ‘holly’

Wooden Wonders part 13: holly, by Kate Cashmore

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is full of magnificent trees.

As part of our half term Wooden Wonders event taking place from 14 – 16 February, Kate Cashmore from Westonbirt’s learning team has created a trail which will help you find out about our hidden wonders.

Here, she highlights some of the Wooden Wonders that you can discover when you follow the trail.

Holly The Link Silk Wood (1)

Holly has a heavy, white, fine-grained wood.

It can distort when dried so is used for small things. It polishes well, and can be stained black and is often used for chessmen.

In Medieval Ireland it was used for arrows and chariot shafts! The wood also has medicinal uses, for example, as chewing stick as a tonic for pet rabbits.

Wood is so useful that we need to be sure we will not run out of it, by cutting it sustainably.

You can help: buy wood products marked with the FSC label. This shows that the forest which the  wood comes from has been approved by the Forest Stewardship Council – an independent organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests.

Did you know – all Forestry Commission woods (such as Westonbirt) have been approved by the FSC!

Useful links
Find out more about the Wooden Wonders event
Buy great value Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership
More great activities for families

What’s Christmassy about Holly? by Caroline Bennett, Education Officer

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

As part of Westonbirt’s programme of family activities this winter, Westonbirt’s education team have created a trail that explores winter traditions from around the world. Caroline Bennett, Westonbirt’s Education Officer, researched the trail and uncovered some fascinating facts about the trees and plants which are central to so many of these traditions and beliefs.

What’s Christmassy about Holly?

03 September 2011 010
For thousands of years people across Europe have decorated their homes with evergreen branches of trees in wintertime. Evergreen branches are symbols of survival and everlasting life and are especially important during festivals of the winter solstice.

Pagans believed that holly would protect people from lightning and witches. Some Christians associate spiky holly with Jesus’ crown of thorns. Many Pagan solstice traditions changed over time to become Christmas traditions.

Shiny evergreen leaves like those of holly help to reflect light around a room so definitely make the dark winter days seem brighter!

Useful links
More about family activities at Westonbirt
Become a member of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum