In Celtic legend, the Holly King - also called "Lord of the Winter Wood" - rules from Midsummer to Midwinter, while the Oak King rules the rest of the year. The Holly King's reign is tied to fertility, death and resurrection, peaking on Lammas Night. 


Holly was also brought into homes, in days past, to shield the house from wicked faeries and evil spirits. In Scandinavian legend, holly was planted next to houses to protect them from lightning.


Modern mystery writers often use holly as a seasonal tie-in. Here are a few examples:




Holly Blues (China Bayles Series #18) 














Holly and Homicide (Domestic Bliss Series #7) 















A Holly Jolly Murder (Claire Malloy Series #12) 















Shrouds of Holly (Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery Series #15) 















Blood On The Holly 












Do you know of any other legends related to holly? Have you read other holly-related mysteries that I've missed here? Tell us about them!



Happy New Year to you all, and best wishes for a wonderful 2011!


This is a sad post for me - if I've counted right, this is the 93rd blog I've written for Garden Variety. It will also be my last, since B&N has decided to wind up the blog at the end of 2010.


I've enjoyed sharing these rambles through garden books and related topics with you all. I hope you'll stop by Barnes & Noble's Mystery Book Club and hang out with me there. It's been a privilege to spend this time with you!

by Fricka on ‎12-27-2010 03:04 PM

Say it ain't so, becke! While I don't post regularly in this blog, it's always been a fun place to visit, as I have a dream that one day my black thumb will turn green and I'll be sucessful in creatiing my own little garden spot.

In reference to Holly, I don't have other historical or legendary references to Holly that you haven't covered here. I do think there are a number of Christmas songs that refer to the Holly, such as "

"Holly Jolly Christmas"( the version I grew up with had Burl Ives singing it) and of course, "The Holly and the Ivy" .

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎12-27-2010 04:36 PM

Fricka - they might be coming out with something new for garden lovers. I don't know all the details.


I remember Holly Jolly Christmas! Did you ever see that movie "Summer Magic" with Burl Ives and Hayley Mills? I loved that one!

by NJMetal on ‎12-27-2010 09:08 PM

I'm saddened to find out this is the final installment of the Gardening Blog!  While I don't regularly comment on your blogs, I always check in faithfully.  Your posts have always been insightful and timely.  You spotlighted gardening books I never would have found on my own searches.  It's been great to have such a clearly knowledgeable and wide ranged blogger hold down the topic.


I do hope that B&N has some other progressive idea in mind to build upon the foundation you have laid and won't let your work lay to rest.  I'm sure if they do that while you may not be working in any official capacity you will certainly be an important contributor!


It's been fun and I look foreword to interacting with you in other areas of the message boards in the weeks and months to come

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎12-28-2010 01:03 AM

There will be one more blog, I believe, since Michaela is scheduled to post one on Wednesday. I think that will be the last one.


B&N is constantly updating the site, so you may see gardening as a topic in some other form one day. Anything's possible!

About Garden Variety: The BN Gardening Blog
Welcome to Garden Variety, a common ground for gardening enthusiasts in the B&N community. Each day, our resident experts, guest bloggers, and B&N staff produce articles on evergreen topics and growing trends in the realm of landscaping. From seasonal plants and edible gardens to book suggestions and landscape innovations, this is the place where ideas flourish.


Since 1997, you’ve been coming to to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.