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Twelfth Night

Do you wait until Twelfth Night to take down the Christmas tree and holiday decorations?

The Holly Man Wassails the Thames

Photo: Dean Ayres (flickr)

Twelfth Night festivities on the south bank of the Thames near the Globe Theatre. The Lions Part theatre company lead the proceedings, which include the arrival of the Holly Man by boat, wassailing, a mummers play, and a procession along the Thames.

During the middle ages, the Christmas season lasted for 12 days and reached a climax on Jan 6, which is called Twelfth Night.

We often wait, nowadays, until Twelfth Night to take down the Christmas tree and holiday decorations. Once everything is put away the house seems suddenly quite bereft, and we long for something natural and fresh.

January, of course, is a difficult month for garden flowers. Sometimes, however, one can unearth some long stems of ivy in the winter garden. In the summer, I am always trying to pull it out and get rid of it, but I am glad to see any green leaves in winter.

If you ever find any, cut some pieces and hammer the stems and submerge them in a sink of cold water overnight. Next morning, shake the water off and pat them dry with a towel before placing them in a vase.

With this background for an arrangement in place, you may be able to find a few other bits and pieces in the garden, for example, bare branches, berries, Bergenia leaves or even a Christmas rose (Helleborus), to add to the ivy. Otherwise, buy a few blooms to combine with the ivy and rationalize the purchase as absolutely necessary food for the soul.

Buy any color flower but red, as after the holidays red seems passé and our eyes have become tired of it.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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