cedar waxwing in just one species of bird that
finds holly berries a tasty treat.
is nothing that quite says Christmas like a holly
showing out with its festive bright red berries. A
specimen holly kissed by frost or draped with a blanket
of snow is a sight and memory to be treasured.
years of being mesmerized by their beauty I am now being
treated to a new look at our garden in Savannah, Ga.,
the holly adorned with Spanish moss, looking as though
they have been carefully decorated with a special tinsel
of where you live, Spanish moss or not, this is this
time of the year hollies perform their magic by making
the landscape so picturesque. They provide the
needed evergreen structure or bones of the landscape.
Without them the garden looks a little more like the
frozen tundra. The uncountable red berries are not only
reminiscent of tiny ornaments but are an unbelievable
source of food for hungry birds.
the American holly, known botanically as Ilex opaca. It
is native over a huge area of North America covering
some 27 states. It can reach stately tree proportions of
30 to 60 feet in height and feeds 18 species of birds.
You will find when it comes to the backyard wildlife
habitat hollies are considered among the true champions.
the landscape the holly can perform just about any task
that is needed. When privacy is needed the first thought
to come to the mind of many homeowners is a fence which
can serve the purpose if really needed. Unless you need
to keep something out consider if a cluster of hollies
would afford the needed screen.
the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens we have used
hollies in a variety of ways. There is a group of Mary
Nell hollies separating our parking from our conference
center. This not only provides the needed screen but
also serves as the perfect evergreen back drop for
the camellia garden we have used Robin, one of the Red
Holly hybrids, in specimen plantings. With almost
perfect Christmas tree structure they are a great
companion to the nearby showy camellia blossoms. In the
rose garden with a tiered fountain, we have used Oak
Leaf, another of the Red Holly hybrids in what might
best be described as specimen-type anchors.
Red Holly hybrids made their debut in the late 1990ís
and have quickly caught on with their conical or
pyramidal structure, red berries and foliage that is
considered the prettiest in the market. These are
generally cold hardy from zones 6-9 and are sorter in
stature reaching in the 10 to 14 foot range. Festive and
Little Red are two others that I have grown, and rank
high in among my favorite hollies.
most famous holly in the garden is known as Lordís
holly and is known botanically as Ilex rotunda. It is
the first plant I show visitors. It was no doubt planted
during our plant introduction era, what many consider
our countryís greatest plant exploration period. It is
very old and monolithic in size, it has pendulous
branches with berries totaling in the millions. Its
structure today is perfect for climbing or even building
word holly is believed to be derived from the word holy,
for in several parts of Europe sprigs were used in
decorating to commemorate the birth of Christ. Today our
holiday season would not be complete without decorative
holly swags on the fireplace mantle or draped along a
banister, and for sure artistically placed in the table
centerpiece. First you must have them in your landscape.
If you are lacking, put the holly high on your list for