Church and Holly

On a recent local walk, I stopped by this Presbyterian church and spent a little while there taking photos. I moved on around the corner and, still on the church property, found a very pretty holly bush with bright berries and variegated foliage. Tapanui, West Otago, New Zealand. Photos taken 06 May 2021.


I wondered if holly had any particular significance to churches and recalled the christmas carol ‘Deck the halls …’ so I searched on christmas carols and holly, and my results were overwhelmed with ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ of which I was familiar with the tune but not the words. Interestingly the verses relate various features of holly directly to Christ and I’ll quote just one of the verses as an example:

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.

Then Nigel pointed me in the direction of a Scottish website and there I found a wealth of information about holly – facts, mythology and folklore, and beautifully presented. Link: Trees for Life (holly)


Text and photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2021)

6 thoughts on “Church and Holly

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  1. It’s interesting to read (from that site) that holly was used to protect against witches. Rowan was too, and both trees have red berries, so I suspect the red was an important part of that. I like the cream margins to the leaves – much nicer than the plain green ones!

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