Sunday, December 4, 2011


It just occurred to me that today is December 4, the feast day of Saint Barbara, and that I have almost let the day pass without writing a post about the flower-related traditions associated with this date. Following an old custom, many people in Germany cut branches of spring-flowering trees and shrubs - those of the sweet cherry (Prunus avium) are most commonly used where I grew up - and bring them inside to put in a vase. In the warmth of the house, the Barbarazweige or "Barbara twigs" are supposed to blossom by Christmas.

 Prunus sp.

You can find my previous, more extensive posts on Barbaratag here and here... And I assume that the forcing of the branches works just as well if one cuts them on December 5...


  1. That's pretty cool. I like forcing branches but didn't know it was possible so early. I'll have to bring some to my mother, Barbara, who's birthday is today.

  2. Rohrerbot - Glad you like it... I am a big fan of flowering cherries, even if some people think they have been overdone.

    ChrisU - Some species might be problematic if it has not really gotten cold yet but plants whose dormancy breaks easily - like forsythias and very early flowering things like Prunus mume - should work. Happy Birthday to your mother!

  3. i haven't heard of that custom before, but i love it! i don't have any cherries, but i could try honeysuckle or forsythia... maybe it's not too early to force them successfully.

  4. Loved the flowers and its color!


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