Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

A partridge-less, wonky pear tree!

Wonky Pear TreeOur small pear tree has seen better days. Probably when it was a pip in a pear… The sturdy hazel rod struggles to keep it steady, as the tree seems to have very poor roots and would gladly rock 2 feet in either direction if it weren’t for the supporting rod.

Add to this that last year it yielded a total of two – TWO – pears, one of which fell to the ground before ripening and the other was eaten by birds… Also, not a partridge in sight!

And then add to that that the tree was actually in the garden when we bought it…

Is it just me, or is the Flâneur Husband being a bit cheap when it comes to partridges and pear trees?

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At 12:12 on 21/12/2012 the Winter Solstice will finally arrive. This means that today is the shortest day of the year, of course, and because the solstice happens just after noon the coming night will be the longest – by mere seconds. Tomorrow will be a longer day, and the night after tomorrow will be a shorter night.

Isn’t this WONDERFUL??? I know everybody talks about Christmas these days – myself included – but really the solstice beats Christmas…

Winter Solstice Sunrise

The picture above was taken at 9:15 as I was taking a walk through the forest and the sun was slowly making it’s way over the horizon. Technically speaking sunrise was at 8:41, but because of hills and trees I only saw it half an hour later.

The Solstice is of course the reason the Romans celebrated their Saturnalia – which came to define the time of Christmas, it seems, since nobody really knows when Jesus was born (let’s face it, Christian or not there is firm historical indications that a man called Jesus lived in what is now Israel in the years after 0AD; whether he was the Son of God or not is a matter I shall let others discuss) – and also the time for the Norse Yule celebrations.

So whether you are Christian or not, the holiday season is a celebration of the coming of light. For the ancient Norse it was the coming of the light of the Sun, for Christians it was the coming of the “Light of the World”. However, leaving all religion aside I think that as gardeners we should definitely celebrate the coming of the light of the Sun; just imagine, in a few months it will be time for winter aconites and snowdrops, then daffodils and tulips and before you know it we will all be saying to each other “well, maybe next year I will find time to do X, Y and Z…”

Tonight I shall be celebrating the Winter Solstice by stoking a warm fire, cuddle up with a nice book and lots of candles. Light and warmth to ward off the darkness and the cold – even if the coldest months are still to come. And then, when I grow tired, I will retreat to a warm bed, cuddle up under the duvet and blankets and do my best to sleep through the longest night and wake up to a new day that will be just a little longer than today.

Happy Solstice to all, and a Merry Christmas and a Bountiful New Year!

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Many cities have Christmas decorations, some more spectacular than others, but I really like Copenhagen at Christmas.

Copenhagen City Hall Christmas Tree

Obviously there’s a big tree in front of the City Hall. It’s decorated courtesy of Children’s Aid, so each of the hearts carry their logo. It might not make a big difference, but if it gives them just a single extra donation, well, so much the better! (And the decorations are, of course, sponsored so the expense doesn’t come out of the money to be used for helping children and families.)

Copenhagen Christmas Lights

Most of the pedestrian streets in the old city centre are hung with fir garlands and various decorations that are illuminated after dark. It might not be as spectacular as the London Christmas lights, but I find it infinitely prettier. Simple, somehow comfortable and absolutely charming.

Copenhagen Christmas Lights

Today the thaw started, and the snow is melting away quickly all over the city. But we might get more frost towards the end of next week, so there’s still the chance of a white Christmas. Fingers crossed, right?

In the mean time, how does your city or town deck itself out for Christmas?

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Tonight the Flâneur Husband will be having his card club over for a Christmas party. Just the four of them (they play whist), and I will soon be leaving for the holiday house – and the garden.

I’m not involved in the card club since it was created before I ever entered the picture, but for tonight I will definitely claim the role as “facilitator”, since I have done some of the preparations. (Well, I’m sure my husband will accept it if I say “most”…)

They will be having a simple dinner before the card games, so yesterday I bought some ripened pickled herring for the starter, and I’ve also made som duck confit that just needs to be heated up and served with potatoes as the mains. The dessert will be more or less traditional marzipan chocolates. Some with an orange liqueur, some with a nougatine filling.

And, well… The garden will be present!


I cut these twigs from the garden on Wednesday and brought them back so there would be some sort of Christmas feel to the dining room. Tax, pine, dogwood, berberis and a few twigs of dog rose. You might have spotted that the baubles are not naturally occurring on these plants, and that is very true; I added these because the red hips and berries are difficult to see by candle light, so something slightly more sparkly was required.

There will be one of these bouquets in each of the two windows in the dining room windows, but to add a bit of sparkle to the table itself I took our remaining baubles and piled them up randomly in two dishes.


Some are old, some are new. The oldest are probably more than 60 years old, the newest are from this year. Very few were bought, very few were presents and by far the most are heirlooms. And somehow they all go together because they are all so different. Some are family, some are gifts from friends and some were just bought to embellish the Christmases I will be spending with the  Flâneur Husband.

I hope they will have a lovely evening. If they don’t, well… It will be their own fault, because the food will be good and the room will look pretty – and they will be in great company with each other.

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