Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas nourishment...for soul and mind!

With just 7 days to Christmas, I thought I'd lead you around my garden and show you some of the lovely, decorative items Nature has provided to celebrate this special holiday...remember to take a deep, relaxing breath and leave your stress behind...I want you to enjoy this moment of "time out!"

Hush!  Do you hear them?  Those are our Christmas beetles (cicadas)!  They have just begun their high-pitched strumming (singing) for the day - I love to hear them, although many others find them annoying and for anyone who happens to suffer from tinnitus, it's apparently quite painful.  I hope they aren't bothering you?  To me, they are an essential part of our Christmas experience, as it is now that they make their appearance. 

They aren't easy to spot, but they are by no means what you'd call "pretty" insects.  They look a bit like an oversized fly or moth to me and their colouring is a nondescript brown - this helps with camouflage since they attach themselves to the bark of trees. 

Cicada - photo by Bruce Marlin, Wikimedia Commons.

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Our swamp cypress is in full leaf now and, look over here!  It has been dropping its tiny green, bauble-like cones (again, something I typically associate with our Christmas season).  The cones are sticky with gum and smell faintly of pine.  Also, the shape of the tree is very Christmassy - so our choosing not to have an actual tree indoors for the second year in a row, is really no great loss - there's plenty outside in the garden to make it feel like Christmas to me. 

My gift to you!

Over here are my bromeliads.  Yes, I know I've shown them to you before, but since last time, they are even more gloriously red and, against their green, what could possibly be more Christmassy than that? (Just be careful of their sharp spines!)

OK! I agree, the bromeliads are possibly topped by this stem of deliciously fragrant, red floribunda roses...for true Christmas showiness ;)

Oh, just look over here! Our liquid amber throws down numerous gorgeous seed balls, which are shaped as beautifully as any bought decoration.  Some folk collect them and spray them silver or gold and add shiny beads and ribbons to turn them into more traditional Christmas baubles, but to me, they are perfect precisely the way nature has designed them to be...

The many pine cones I've had fun collecting throughout the year, bring their own Christmas magic to the garden at this time of the year...

All of my fuschias are flowering profusely now, too - and, to me, they are still the most delightful little bells, except that they don't tinkle.  

Fallen fuschias, past their prime, but still lovely in decline, floating like little pirouetting ballerinas!
For Christmas tinkle, I have several wind chimes placed around the garden...look above you.  This one makes particularly lovely sounds when teased by a gentle breeze...listen carefully.  It's not easy to hear above the sound of the cicadas.

Let Christmas not become a thing
merely of...tinsel, bell and holly wreath
and surface pleasure.
But beneath...let us find
nourishment for soul and mind.
Let us follow kinder ways... 
  and help the age of peace to come...

~ Madeline Morse ~

Speaking of tinsel, what could be more charming than silvery airplants and old man's beard...Nature's very own tinsel!

 Aren't these colours absolutely perfect for Christmas time?  Don't they remind you of the heavily brocaded tablecloths and cushion covers of old?   

Or, how about a deep, velvety-red, hibiscus flower...touched with gold dust?

Or...some amber moss, offset against the soft green of peace-in-the-home?  What an apt reminder of the message of Christmas...a time of PEACE and goodwill to all mankind!

For green, nothing beats maidenhair fern...look at how delicately structured these leaves are...Nature's lacework.  Do you notice how each frond is made up of individual heart shapes?  Nature freely spreading her loving kindness to all mankind!  If only we'd take heed and copy her... 

OK, for those of you who aren't buying into my alternative universe, I'll compromise - but only because this little bird is (a) wooden, (b) handmade and (c) hand-painted!  I love that she, too, carries a message of LOVE with her!

Who says the representation of gold at Christmas has to be of the shiny, metallic kind?  Isn't this a simply exquisite alternative?

Since blue is my favourite colour in the garden, and since many folks elect to decorate their trees and tables with silver and blue, how about this perfect little lace-cap hydrangea.  It's tiny central flowers look just like twinkly stars.
Absolutely perfect for Christmas time!

Christmas would not be Christmas without its Christmas about this one?  It qualifies, as it's not glittery and lives in my greenhouse throughout the year, blessing my plants :)  Why else do you think my plants do so well in here?

Of course, everyone wants to bring out their finest linen and crockery at Christmas time.  They then spend an anxious time hoping no one is going to spill, drop or break's a good alternative ;) solid concrete coffee pot - anyone care to join me for a make-believe cup out here in the garden?  We'll be serenaded by the doves, pigeons, robin chats, white-eyes and sunbirds. Oh! and of course, the cicadas!!!

While you're relaxing under the deep, cool shade of my trees, you can gaze at the multicoloured reflections in this gently twirling orb and allow your thoughts to wander...leaving all stress, tension and worry behind!  That is, of course, what Christmas ought to be peace, harmony, serenity and feeling completely enveloped in LOVE!!!

So, during all the rush, hype and hurry of the week ahead, try to remind yourselves of WHY you're putting in all this effort to make Christmas 2010 a Happy, Memorable and Loving occasion for your families and closest friends!  No one wants to spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with a frazzled, worn out BXYZ!!!

If things get too much, just pop back here and remind yourselves of the real essentials that go into making a special Christmas - do it the way Nature, in all her wisdom, intended!




  1. Great post, wonderful thoughts to share with us! I love that picture of the fallen fuchsia flowers. Is that prayer plant growing outside in your garden?

    And.....I want that concrete coffee pot!

  2. O wowwwwwwwwwwwww...this is all so beautiful !!!.......their lies lot lots of snow here....o my...teribble........i don't like snow......i wish i wish it was also summer here.....hahahahah!! love love Ria...

  3. Wise words and lovely pictures. How wonderful to be surrounded by such beauty - and stop to notice it. I've often wondered what a cicada looked like - now I know. And those green balls remind me of brussel sprouts - an essential part of our traditional Christmas dinner!

  4. Alison:

    No, the highly coloured prayer plant is growing in my greenhouse. I also have a spotted green one in there, too.

    I have a very large plain green one growing in the wetland.

    So glad you enjoyed this post!


    I do feel for you with all the snow and icy temperatures, but that has a magical beauty of its own, which makes your Christmases so special ;)


    Brussel sprouts? Yes, you're right - I hadn't thought of it that way :)

    The cicadas sang almost all night long! They live in the willow tree right outside our bedroom window, next to our pond, so between them and our raucous toad, I found it quite hard to get a good night's sleep ;)

  5. A great alternative to decorations for Christmas. Love your Christmas plants. I have many of them too. We also have the noisy cicadas, which do annoy me as I have tinitus, but I get used to them. We also get pretty coloured ones and green ones.

  6. I read that we have 150 different types of cicada in SA, so the brown ones we get in our garden are not the only representatives ;) Lovely that yours are so colourful!

  7. So that's what a cicada looks like!

    In spite of how beautiful your many flowers look, the ones which really attracted me were the swamp cypress cones and the liquid amber seeds. When I look closely, the detail of the patterns on the cones is awesome, while the seeds are just so intricate! Definitely may favourites!

    As for the cup of make believe coffee, I'll have it with make believe milk, but no make believe sugar thanks.

  8. H:

    I couldn't agree with you more - and I'm also a milk with no sugar girl!
    Lovely to have you pop by again - thank you!


    Welcome :) and I'm so pleased to know you enjoyed your visit. Hope to see you back soon ;)

  9. I love the wings on creatures that fly...and these are so beautifully detailed...
    Beauty is only skin deep! :)


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