It all started when I was doing some yard cleanup today and noticed that my holly tree was full of berries, for the first time in ages. I always thought the birds got there before I did, which is probably part of the reason. Another thing is that although it's been cold, it hasn't been sub-freezing yet, so the birds probably still have the bugs and whatever other living things they feast on in abundance.
Then I remembered 2 holly related stories in Delaware lore. The other day, robin brown, who posts photos from the State Archives, posted a photo and story about holly in Delaware on Facebook:
Back in the days before plastic, when real holly was the mainstay of holiday decorations, Delawareans could make quite a bit of money by selling wreaths and boughs. And they didn’t even have to have greenhouses because holly grows wild here, typically under high-canopy trees as shown in this 1929 photo of men gathering holly in Ellendale Swamp. But with too many pickers, many landowners put signs on their fences to warn “No Holly Picking.”
– Compiled by robin brown
Delaware Public Archives
Board of Agriculture Glass Negative Collection
The second story is about a train-- the B&O RR's Royal Blue ( photo from Wikipedia) line that once ran between New York and Washington D.C. from the 1880's to 1958. This ran through Wilmington, and I was told a story years ago of how, south of the city (probably in Maryland), a holly growing area played Christmas music (possibly from the 1930's to 1950's ) as the train came through, and the conductors wore holly on their lapels.