Holly Leaves and Berries Symbolize the Holidays for Many

December 1, 2021

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

This is a great time of year to prune evergreens like holly to use in wreaths and as holiday decorations. We have several hollies at Bridge Gardens.

American holly (Ilex opaca) is one of our favorites. This native is common on Long Island and often seen growing on the edges of coastal woodlands and swamps. Boughs of their evergreen leaves and bright red berries have long been gathered to decorate houses during the holidays and have been seen for centuries as symbols of good fortune and life enduring in the midst of winter.


American Holly

Another plant that symbolizes the holidays for many people is poinsettia. Bernard Hayduk, a Bridge Gardens volunteer and community gardener, asked me to adopt his holiday plant “temporarily.” His partner, Linda, wanted it out of the house. I agreed reluctantly because I usually recommend throwing them out. That was two years ago.


Now, Bernard’s poinsettia is a bushy, 2-foot standard. Brought inside before frost and placed by a bright window, it has developed its characteristically eye-catching display of bright red bracts without any special light treatment.

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