4th December 2015: A Barbara Branch

Today is the day I nip out into the garden, regardless how inclement the weather, and snip a branch or two of an early flowering shrub or tree to put in a vase.


In the hope that, according to tradition, it will flower by Christmas Eve!

Since my dwarf cherry tree is still very small, I chose some Forsythia again this year – it is cheerful, reliable, and does not shed irritating pollen like the hazel catkins I sometimes bring in.

Here it is today…


And I will of course do an update at Christmas. On the right are a few green strands of Kerria japonica – I have no idea if any flowers will appear (I doubt it!), but I do hope that at least a few leaves will sprout.

And here are a couple of past “Barbara Branches”, the tradition of which can be read about in this post here.


Barbarazweig 2014


Barbarzweig 2012

So go on now, out you go with the shears and join me in picking a piece of spring!




40 thoughts on “4th December 2015: A Barbara Branch

    • I like to do it in February too, especially if it looks as if spring will take a while. There is nothing quite like having spring flowers in the house!

  1. Hard to believe that it’s that time of year again Cathy! I might well join you tomorrow when it’s lighter out there ๐Ÿ™‚ Where did you get your snowflakes from?

    • Hi Anna. The wordpress snowflakes must switch on from Dec 1st! They don’t appear to work on the ipad though, so thanks for pointing it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I brought in some Sarcoccoca stems this week, but the flowers are closer to opening, so this is possibly cheating! I shall pick some Forsythia too, as this is a lovely tradition.

    • Sarcococca is completely unknown here, and I couldn’t even find a German wikipedia page on it! I know it must smell lovely though. A good idea to bring in a branch if it is sensitive to frosts.

  3. This is so lovely! I don’t know that I have anything similar in my garden, but I may need to remedy that! I love the idea of just snipping branches, but of course, it needs to be a beautiful branch! You’ve definitely created something quite lovely here, Cathy!

    • Thanks Debra! I wonder if you have any other plants, maybe bulbs, that can be forced to bloom for Christmas. My Mum has grown Paperwhite narcissi indoors before now, and they flowered by Christmas.

  4. What a lovely idea, I must try it. I once brought in some red stemmed cornus as part of the Christmas decorations, by March when I threw them out, they had all rooted!

    • I really like the stems of cornus in winter, and must bring some in too. I wonder if they last long without water with some dried grasses… I’ll have to try!

    • Fortunately we aren’t hayfever sufferers, but we do react to hazel pollen, especially if it is brought indoors! So I have decided not to bring it in any more. It even makes our dog sneeze!

  5. I already have so many twigs and branches of winter greens in I don’t think I can sneak in anything else. Great tradition though and maybe I can sneak in just the tiniest sprig ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
    My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
    In Winter I always think of Percy Bysshe Shelley.
    “…………………….. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
    My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
    Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
    Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
    And, by the incantation of this verse,

    Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
    Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
    Be through my lips to unawakened Earth

    The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
    If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

    That was a beautiful post. Thank you – Kourosh

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