Thursday, May 6, 2010
The Hollies, one of my favorite berrying evergreens. They are comprised of both evergreen and deciduous versions. There are many variations of holly available to the home owner. First we'll discuss the evergreen version. Typically they have tough glossy green foliage that has sharp points to help discourage foraging animals from eating all the fruits (berries). Varieties that grow in the northern regions tend to be tougher to survive harsher climate levels. The scientific classification is: Illex, the most common specimens available is Illex Meservae, sometimes called "China Girl" and "China Boy" its male counterpart. Another popular version is called Illex Opaca, it comes in two different berrying colors, red and yellow. Their common name is "American Holly", the yellow version has an additional common name, "Canary Yellow". Illex Opaca has been depicted in countless Christmas representations. Holly is found throughout the globe. There are over a 1,000 different species of holly that grow in all climates. For our purposes I will focus on species that are available in our country. All holly trees are Dioecious, that means that in order for berries to be produced there must be a male plant somewhere in close proximity to the female tree, usually 30-40 feet.
Now I will describe the deciduous versions of holly. These species lose their leaves in the fall but leave behind crimson berries for visual appeal throughout most of the winter months. One of the most commonly available is Illex Verticilata or Winterberry. It is native to our wetlands and is commonly seen in low lying areas usually in close proximity to water. In the Fall the plants leaves will yellow and fall off leaving behind the best seasonal appearance the plant has to offer. You are left with clusters of crimson berries clinging to bare branches. They provide a splash of color at a time of the year when it is most needed.
I felt it was important to mention the variegated hollies, Illex Aquifolia. they have green and white leaves in varying patterns. while they are striking plants, they are not as strong a species. They tend to be more prone to diseases and less tolerant to less than optimal conditions.
I would recommend holly trees as part of your winter landscape. They will provide texture and color that will compliment your design nicely. Holly trees grow slowly and can be pruned and shaped quite nicely. I will provide a post that goes into more detail closer to pruning time.
Later in the season I will do some spotlight posts on specific species to give a more detailed introduction. Please enjoy the photos I have included and see if you can picture them in your own winter garden.

Illex Opaca "American Holly"



Illex Opaca "Canary"


Illex Verticilata "Winterberry"



Illex Aquifolia "Variegated Holly"

4 comments:

  1. I also love hollies. What I love most to them is their brilliant color and is very attractive. I see a lot of this in my grandmother's farm. She loves gardening and she has a lot of hollies in her place.- Contributor: Pregnancy Miracle Thoughts

    ReplyDelete
  2. i always love any plants that goes evergreen..
    because they're minimal in maintenance and always look good in all seasons..
    love your blog..
    cheers..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, everyone this is a contest where you can upload your personal photo about your garden giardinaggio e piante

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautiful garden pictures. There is quite nothing like having your own green oasis to wind down from the stress of life.

    ReplyDelete

Evergreen Color

Evergreen Color
Pyracantha "Firethorn"

Evergreen Color

Evergreen Color
Illex Opaca "Canary"

Evergreen Color

Evergreen Color
Dammeri "Cotoneaster"

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Illex Opaca "American Holly"
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