Winter Solistice Plants highlighted at Cornell

Did you know that bringing evergreen boughs indoors will give the fairies someplace warm to live during the winter? Just be careful – if you don’t take the greens back outside soon enough after the solstice, the fairies may take up permanent residence in your home, and cause all sorts of mischief.Come to Cornell Plantations and learn about the cultural and natural history of solstice plants while celebrating the shortest day of the year. Plant folklore and solstice traditions – as well as the plants that inspired them – will be the focus of a special tour, “Plants of the Winter Solstice,” to be held at Plantations’ Mullestein Family Winter Garden. The tour will take place at 12 noon on Saturday, December 20—the day before the winter solstice, and the last full day of fall.Since ancient times, the winter solstice has been celebrated by cultures around the world as a sacred, festive time. Plants such as fir, oak, holly, ivy, and mistletoe have long been an important part of these celebrations. Evergreen wreaths, Christmas trees, kisses under the mistletoe, Yule logs, and halls decked with boughs of holly are some of the more familiar and beloved holiday traditions – all of which have their origins in ancient plant lore. “Many of the plants grown in our Winter Garden are the modern-day relatives of sacred and culturally significant plants,” said Kevin Moss, community outreach coordinator at Cornell Plantations. “The tour will emphasize the connection these plant stories and traditions have to the winter solstice, and will also show what great ornamental plants they make for home landscapes.” Moss, as well as Plantations’ landscape designer Irene Lekstutis, and gardener Phil Syphrit, will lead the tour.In case of inclement weather, an indoor program will be offered in lieu of the tour. Afterwards, you can warm up with a cup of warm cider at Plantations’ Garden Gift Shop. (Mention that you saw this article and receive a 10% discount off your purchases!) Pre-registration for the tour is required, as space is limited. The cost is $5 for members of Cornell Plantations and Cornell students, or $8 for non-members. Children under 12 are free. Meet on the patio outside Plantations’ gift shop, located at One Plantations Road on the Cornell campus. Free parking is available. To register, or for more information, please call (607) 255-2400.Cornell Plantations is the arboretum, botanical garden, and natural areas of Cornell University, and a member of Ithaca’s Discovery Trail Partnership (www.discoverytrail.com ). For more information, visit us online at www.plantations.cornell.edu .

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