native yaupon holly is eaten by several species of
birds, including these Cedar Waxwings seen last
week in a feeding frenzy.
you are thinking about creating a privacy screen between
you and your unruly neighbors or perhaps wanting to
quiet traffic from a busy street, look no further than
one of our fine evergreen hollies. Your first
inclination is probably a fence, and while that would
certainly work it does present a host of issues
including maintenance, harsh lines in the landscape and
a real struggle if you need a screen 12 feet-plus in
at least twice a month I get a call or a visit from
someone looking for more of the nuclear option, and that
is to plant bamboo. Bamboo is in our gardenís name and
I treasure that plant, done right. Sometimes I joke with
my wife saying she is too high tempered to be holding
that butter knife, and similarly Iíve felt like
telling the visitor they are too angry and high tempered
to have a bamboo. Iím not sure they would find my joke
funny. Chosen incorrectly, bamboo could certainly end
all prospects of the good neighbor relationship.
the other hand, a cluster of Nellie R. Stevens hollies,
yaupon hollies or one of dozens of American holly
selections could form a screen of dark glossy green
while providing berries for a host of birds. While
bamboo is known for its spreading ability, it wonít
take long for hollies to grow as well, quickly blocking
out views you donít want and the sounds that will
become more of a memory.
Nellie R. Stevens holly is a cross between the English
holly, Ilex aquifolium, and the Chinese holly, Ilex
cornuta. It was introduced in 1954, and now 61 years
later it is still one of the most important selections
in the trade. It is rugged, durable and exquisite in
both beauty and form. It is cold hardy from zones 6-10,
meaning much of the country can relish in its beauty. It
offers everything you could want in a holly with deep
green glossy leaves, bright red berries and a classic
Christmas tree shape.
Nellie R. Stevens can reach 20 feet tall and around 18
feet in width at maturity offering what might be the
perfect screen. We have a cluster of five screening our
conference center from a parking lot. A tall Fantasy
crape myrtle, ornamental grasses, palms and seasonal
color are used for companion plants.
another area we use clusters of yaupon hollies-Ilex
vomitoria, zones 7-10, American hollies-Ilex opaca,
zones 5-9, and Purple hollies-Ilex purpurea, zones 8-9,
screening a large service area where our water well is
located. Cedar waxwings have arrived in great numbers
and are rotating among the hollies in a feasting frenzy.
It is a sight to behold.
you are creating a screen or the landscape of your
dreams, try grouping your hollies in odd-numbered
clusters of three to five. Let them serve as backdrop
spring-blooming shrubs or a perennial border. Redbuds
and dogwoods make for incredible partners. Try placing
them in between repetitive clusters of hollies.
these are tough, persevering shrubs, they do need water
to get established at your home. During the first year
make it a practice to train them to go deep with their
root expansion by watering deep but infrequently.
your hollies a light application of an 8-8-8 fertilizer
about a month after transplanting. Feed established
plantings in April and August. The last application is
even more important for hollies with large berry crops.
are so versatile they provide the bones or evergreen
structure so needed in the landscape. As a screen there
is no better choice. They are an undeniable necessity in
the backyard wildlife habitat. Take a survey of your
landscape and see where hollies would enhance the