Monday, December 14, 2020

Celebrate The Twelve Days of Christmas

 Photo by from Pexels

Relieve the “After-Christmas Blues”

For many people, Christmas Day begins with a bang and ends with a whimper. It needn’t. By celebrating all twelve days of Christmas, you may alleviate those “after-Christmas blues.”

There are many things that contribute to the blues after Christmas. I’ve been disappointed by the shortness of the day. Expectations build for weeks before, then like a snap it’s over. 

Celebrations lift the spirits and make us happy, especially when we are giving. I figure that as long as I can celebrate, the longer my spirits will soar. Instead of only celebrating Christmas Day, I like to celebrate all twelve of them.

The tradition began in Western Christianity during the 6th century AD as a sacred and festive occasion from Christmas Day leading up to Epiphany – the feast celebrating the arrival of the Magi to see the child, Jesus. It’s called Christmastide. 

You know the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, during which “my true love gave to me” lots of great stuff? 

1 partridge in a pear tree, 

2 turtle doves,

3 french hens,

4 calling birds

5 gold rings

6 geese a-laying

7 swans a-swimming

8 maids a-milking

9 ladies dancing

10 lords a-leaping

11 pipers piping

12 drummers drumming

“My true love” must’ve been very happy, indeed.

Gifting doesn’t have to be so extravagant to be merry. Even a little celebration will boost your spirits. 

Dr. Ben Carson – U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – is quoted as saying, “Happiness doesn't result from what we get, but from what we give.”

On the final night – The Twelfth Night – throw a dinner party for a few friends and family. Yes. Try it yourself this Christmastide to chase away those “after-Christmas blues.”

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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

A Stroll Along King Street, Charleston, SC

Behind The Garden Wall

Garden Wall in Charleston South Carolina

Late fall is a favorite season for strolling here in the Deep South. The weather is cooler, often clement, and natural colors can be outstanding. Containers and beds are brimming with annuals such as pansies, snapdragons and ornamental brassicas. Camellias are in full bloom, and some azaleas are still showing off. What’s more, flowering vines can be outstanding, and there’s usually a bit of serendipity.

We enjoyed such a day just last week. I had no sooner stepped out of my car parked on South Battery when I overheard a lady in a horse-drawn carriage ask the coachwoman if she could identify a plant she saw nearby that was covered with bright red berries. The driver could not, so I politely offered my service. “That is a holly. Weeping Yaupon holly. Ilex vomitoria ‘Pendula’,” I said while pantomiming so she could get the picture.

After that brief introduction to the type of character they might meet around Charleston, we began to stroll up King Street. It wasn’t long before we stopped to photograph flowering vines spilling over a garden wall. Frankly, that is about the extent of what one might see in gardens along the way. High walls and wrought iron gates prevent visitors from getting too close and seeing too much. As long as we stay outside the gates, homeowners usually don’t mind admirers peering through the bars. In fact, most residents usually spend a great deal of money maintaining their lovely window boxes and street plantings for others to enjoy. 

Here are a few of the garden sights we enjoyed.

Caesalpinia mexicana

Mixed window box with Carex and Snapdragons

Tecoma capensis

Mixed window box planting

Use of dwarf mondo in driveway

Private garden

Mixed window box planting

Espalier with Trachelospermum jasminoides

Mixed street planting

Camellia espaliers

Window box with pansies, Lamium and brassicas

Enchanting gateway

Lamium, petunia, pansy, sweet alyssum, brassica

Alley beckoning

Container garden with camellia background

Streetside garden

Still, one can’t help wondering what grows behind the garden wall.

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