Holly Berries and Hollywood Balls

Holly Berries and Hollywood BallsEach Christmas, we produce a good crop of Holly berries. We go down to the local pre-Christmas Mistletoe and Holly Markets at Tenbury Wells because we have no Mistletoe here at the HoBB to accompany the berries.

The Holly trees are not coppiced and provide shelter and winter browse for the sheep.

But can anyone tell me what causes the lumps (see picture) on our Holly Tree trunks? If so, please contact me and I’ll log it here.

These ball shapes come in all sizes and don’t seem to be of any concern to the tree. If you break them off and cut them in half, they just look like a ball of Hollywood. ( Thought : Does anyone in India have the same balls on their Bolly Trees?)

We have fourteen holly trees (all are Ilex aquifolium ) and some of them are probably 300 years old. Most are naturally leggy and the frequent haunt of wood pigeons. Only a few of them grow these great nodule forms on their trunks ranging in size from a small pea to a large golf ball.

Waves from an inquisitive Hollywood ball onlooker
~~~~~~~~ <+))))))))>< ~~~ Grant

Dating a Building

IMAGENAMEHERELooking carefully on some timbers, you can just make out where thin tree branches’ were originally nailed into the oak beams to support the plaster which once coated them. This patterning / stain is very evident in the beach comber room.

Every year at the HoBB sees a mix of traditional and new construction methods because previous owners have used modern materials over and around ancient works. We keep discovering little techniques and noticing the tricks of past builders. So much so that we have become very interested in the many ways to keep things together, attached, level, supported in mid air and enwrapped.

Not only are we challenged to invent techniques inside the farmhouse, but with strong winter winds, the garden demands that we recall or learn all sorts of knots and supporting techniques, often individually suited to particular plants.

When renovating stonework above the HoBB’s old bread oven, we noticed a lump of dried leather neatly set into the mortar between two aligned stones. It had obviously been placed there deliberately and looked like a very small leather shoe. Only recently have we been told that this helps to date the farmhouse to a period when people believed it such actions brought good luck.

For tradition, the shoe remains as part of the building’s fabric. If you know any more about this tradition, let us know.

~~~~~~~~~~ <+))))))))>< ~~~ waves from Grant