Yew becomes the holiday branch

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We are three years and three species along on the path we've chosen for our next 35 years of decking the halls. We hang and decorate a branch rather than a tree. We're loving it. 

A tradition we adopted from Janet's parents, who grew up celebrating holidays in the Russian Orthodox fashion, is to begin the Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve and carry on until Epiphany or "Little Christmas" on January 6.

So we decorate on Christmas eve. (Only a couple of times did we go as far as Janet's parents, who would erect the tree and do the decorations while the kids slept, telling the little ones that Santa brought the tree...)

Three years ago we added a new twist. We put up a holiday branch instead of a holiday tree. Now we aim to honor a different species each year.

This year we have a triple branched, 12' yew (Taxus x media 'Wardii') limb, selected during a Garden By Janet & Steven pruning session in early December. On December 24 while Steven Santa'd, Janet dragged it in and hoisted it high.

By midnight we had it lit and full of ornaments.

We'll continue this story in our next issue, where you can judge how the yew measures up to last year's oak (there, we even showed you how we hoisted the big tihng) and the white pine from two years ago.

We think a beech branch would be wonderful next. Or a ginkgo. But much will depend on chance. Sometime this year we'll see "our" branch and mark it for a December harvest.