Friday, January 30, 2009

Sorry I've not been writing, but we lost our power with this horrible ice storm and just got it back late last night. I'll be back to normal by tomorrow, but today I need to get the house back in order, put away the emergency non-electric heaters, more the plants back to the greenhouse, get the water turned back on, get the food out of the snowbanks and back to the refrigerator and freezer and just basically get back to normal. I took lots of pictures - not much else to do - which I'll get downloaded today and post tomorrow. It was simply beautiful despite the destruction it caused.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dryopteris - Part One

After the Athyriums, Dryopteris are probably the largest other group in the gardens. I wrote about the Autumn Fern so I won't repeat that. Dryopteris is also known as Wood Fern, Shield Fern or Buckler Fern. Most commonly wood ferns in the US and Buckler Ferns in England. These are ferns of the moist, shady woodlands or swamps in temperate regions. These hybridize freely in the wild. I know I sometimes find an unknown fern here and there, so I suspect that the Dryopteris aren't the only ones that do this. These are mostly all easy to grow and have few problems.
This first on is Dryopteris affinis stableri crisped. Quite a name, but a lovely fern. This is a big one, often getting 3 feet tall. It is identical to stableri except that the pinnae have wavy edges.
Next is Dryopteris australis, Dixie Wood Fern. It is said to get 4-5 feet tall, though only one of mine has gotten that big. It looks very tropical at that size and is planted among some large hostas. It is said to be semi-evergreen, but seems to die back here.
Next is Dryopteris carthusiana. This one has only been here for 2 years so far. It is commonly known as Spinulose Wood Fern or Toothed Wood Fern. For those of you in colder climates, this on will even grow in zone 2. This one a more normal size - one to three feet tall. This one is commonly found in swamps and wet woodland in North America, Europe and Asia. It will grow in full shade or partial sun.

Last for today is Dryopteris cystolepidota. This one is not listed in my fern book, so I didn't know much about it. A quick Google search, however, turned up this source of information which I will have to delve into a lot deeper to learn more about the rest of my ferns. Hope this shows up as a link since it doesn't look like one here.

Well, we got our snow. I just heard the plow come down even though it is still snowing. I guess they wanted to clear off the road before the ice comes later today and tonight. Not sure if that will make it better or worse.

Monday, January 26, 2009


These are medium sized ferns with soft, feathery fronds. They spread by runners and can make a nice colony. They, like so many others, are primarily tropical, but one is native to North America, Dennstaedtia punctilobula or Hay Scented Fern. These grow in zones 3 to 8 so will be happy in most parts of the U.S. and I expect many other places as well. Unlike most of the other ferns I grow, these are partial to a more sunny spot and will tolerate only light shade. A very un-fern-like fern. Once established it will even tolerate fairly dry soil.
The name comes from the fact that when brushed against, they smell like hay. The scent comes from gland-tipped whitish hairs which cover the fern. This very adaptable fern is deciduous and turns a lovely soft yellow color in the fall.
No ferns showing outside today since we had a bit of snow last night and it is snowing again as I write. The forecast is for up to 8 inches over the next couple of days. So pretty outside, maybe I'll wander around this afternoon and take some 'conifer covered with snow' pictures.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chrystopteris and Cyrtomium

The rest of my ferns starting with 'C' today. This first is Cyrtomium, Holly Fern. They get their name fro the leathery, holly-like foliage. This one specifically is Cyrtomium fortunei. It is listed as semi-evergreen and is pretty evergreen here, though it often will just replace its winter-worn fronds in the spring. This is the hardiest one and is good down to zone 5. It is a native of Japan, Korea and China, but is naturalized in the U.S. in a number of places.
My other Cyrtomium is falcatum. This one is only hardy to zone 6 and often dies back in the winter here even though it is also listed as a semi-evergreen. Both are about 2 feet tall and upright. This one is also native to the orient and even in Hawaii. It is sometimes grown as a houseplant as it will tolerate as it is tolerant of dry air, much more than other ferns. I don't see an awful lot of difference between the two, though they were bought with different names from a nursery that would know the difference. Actually, the pictures in my fern book don't look all that different either.

The last one for today is Cystopteris, Fragile or Bladder Fern. Fragile because the fronds are very delicate and easily broken (though quickly replaced) so it might not be a good choice for someone with a large dog or a cat (like some of mine) who think that a fern is a lovely place to nap. This one is Cystopteris fragilis and is a small thing, rarely over a foot tall and good for a rock garden or the front of a shady border. For any of you in the far north, this might be a good choice since it is hardy to zone 2. Do people in zone 2 really get a chance to garden at all seriously? Just wondering. This fern is native in northern North America and also in Europe and can be found growing in moist woods and on cliffs, but it is also quite adaptable to general garden conditions. This is one of the ferns that will appreciate a little lime. We usually provide that with a scattering of limestone around the plant which will leach out over time, rather than useing a faster powdered lime.
We're back in the freezer today after a lovely, sunny day in the 50s yesterday. Almost felt like I should be out picking daffodils. Soon enough, I suppose that will happen. For now, now updating of the website and working on my quilt.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pteridium - Bracken

So as to not get too confused, I'm taking the pictures as I have them filed, and this one is filed under Bracken, even though the correct Latin name is Pteridium aquilinum. Our patch of it is right near the entrance to the gardens and it always gets people's attention. It is tall, at least 3 feet, so you can't really miss it. The fronds, 3 per plant, are at the top of a tall stem. It spreads by rhizomes and so I always have a good bit to share, but I have found that you have to dig it just as it is emerging, before the fronds unfurl, if you want to have any success in transplanting. Ours has moved across the path (something we had been hoping it would do) and is colonizing underneath the large spruce. Hopefully it will keep the area weed free there since it seems to not allow too much else to grow where it wants to be.

Bracken doesn't seem to be all that available, at least in catalogs that I get. It is hardy over a wide range from zone 3 all the way up to 10. There are also a number of varieties, even a crested one. A lot of people won't grow it because it does spread and some would even call it invasive. One plus, though, is that it can take full sun which is quite unusual for a fern. It is not hard to control even though its rhizomes are several inches below the ground unlike most other ferns. For this reason, it can survive a forest fire and may be one of the first things to regrow. Some people used to eat the fiddleheads in the spring, but they have been found to be carcinogenic, so it probably isn't a good idea. Not sure if this applies to all ferns or just bracken. They never really appealed to me anyway, so it won't be a problem. I have seen canned fiddleheads in some specialty stores and always thought that they would have been much nicer growing in the woods than in a can.

I have heard that in 'olden days' people would line their dresser drawers with bracken to keep moths and other insects away and sometimes also used it as part of their mattress filling. Since it is deciduous, gathering the leaves after frost and after they have dried doesn't harm the plant and could be quite useful.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blechnum nipponicum

The Blechnums are mostly tropical, but there are a few which will be happy here. This one is Blechnum nipponicum, common name - Japanese Deer Fern. This is about as far north as this one will grow, since it really prefers a warmer climate. It is a small fern, about a foot tall, though tall is probably not the right word since the fronds lie flat on the ground rather than being upright like the Athyriums. The fertile fronds, when they are produced, are upright, though. It is said to be evergreen, but like a lot of the others that are supposed to be evergreen, especially those growing here at the north edge of their range, sometimes they go dormant over the winter. Some that don't can look pretty ratty by spring after being snow and ice covered. This one is rather hard and shiny looking and doesn't seem to form a large clump or increase quickly. I have it in a sort of woodsy rock garden place where it won't be overwhelmed by larger plants and it seems to do well there.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dryopteris erythrosora

Today, slightly out of alphabetical order (by Latin name) we'll start the Dryopteris, this one the Autumn Fern (see we're alphabetical if we stick to English). The Dryopteris are probably the second largest group of ferns that are available easily commercially. Also the second largest group represented in my garden.
I have always liked the Autumn Fern because it is like getting two plants in one. This is what you see for most of the summer.
This is late spring/early summer.

But this is what you see in the spring when they first come up. I don't know of any other fern in my garden that has this color on the new fronds. They hold the color until it gets hot and then gradually change to all green. They are supposed to be evergreen, but that's not always the case here.

This is another Asian native, from Japan, China and Taiwan and you can expect it to get about 2 feet tall. The clumps expand gradually. This one is pretty dependable and we have had them in the garden pretty much since it changed from all vegetables to ornamentals, so they are a long-lived plant. Commonly available and not expensive - another plus for any plant this nice.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Athyrium - part last

This is another of the Athyrium selections/crosses (not sure which) - Athyrium 'Branford Beauty'. It is another with reddish stems (though they don't appear that way in the picture) and also a clumper that increases rather quickly. It is taller than some and upright.
This next one is Athyrium otophorum, otherwise known as Eared Lady Fern. It is also an upright one, though smaller, only about a foot tall here. The stems are a dark marroon and the crosiers are the same color. Native to Japan and China, though readily available here. It is also, like the rest of the Ladies, easy to grow.
This last is another version of one I put up the other day. This is Athyrium ff veroniae 'Cristata' (or Cristatum) - the crested version. This is a baby and pictures I have seen show it with many crests all along the frond so that it is a bit 'frizzy' looking. These fancy ones are no more difficult to grow than the plain ones and add a nice touch to the garden, especially with larger leaf hostas and such - a bit of lightness and delicacy.

Very cold here again. Glad I don't have to go anywhere. It was below zero again last night, and though they're prediction just 3 degrees (F) for tonight, it will probably be colder here in the hollow where we get very little sun this time of year to warm things up. Actual sun hitting the ground (not just seen on the hilltops) is less than an hour right now. One of the nicest things about spring here is that the sun comes back down where we can feel it and enjoy it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Athyrium nipponicum

Japanese Painted Ferns, Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum' have to be one of my favorites. The self-spore, I guess that's what you'd call it, readily all around the garden and the coolest thing is that they don't come true from spore. Now in some things, that would be considered a fault, but with these ferns, what it comes down to is that you get all sorts of color combinations from plain green (still lovely) to silver to burgundy to pale green and any combination of those you can imagine. Here are just 2 pictures of the many we have growing. This will be one of the first ferns to succumb to the cold in the fall, but it returns quite reliably every spring, in fact in a much larger clump most times. You will find them popping up all over the place - much more that any other fern I know, not counting those that spread by runners.
Both of these are slightly silvery, but you can see that the second one has a lot of burgundy, much more silver and not a lot of green. Both are seedlings and not at all like my original plant.
We got several inches of snow overnight, rather unexpected, I think, and it is just lovely out there this morning. Best thing is that I can wear my new snow boots out when I go to feed the birds. I was beginning to think that they wouldn't be needed this winter when all we were getting was flurries. I would, however, appreciate seeing the sun for a change. This has been one of the cloudiest winters I can remember.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Athyrium - part four

I told you there were a lot of these. Here are three more Athyriums to add to the list. This first one is Athyrium ff 'Cristatum', I guess the first of the crested ones since it has a simple name. This one has crests at the tips of the fronds and also the pinnae tips. The fronds are flat rather than contorted or 'fuzzy' like some of the crested forms.
This second one is Athyrium ff 'Victoriae' which is not the same as the one I had up yesterday which is Victoria. This is one of the largest of the Lady Ferns and can easily be 3 feet tall. It has multiple crests at the tip of the frond and the pinnae and is arching and drooping. It also comes in a red stemmed version which I haven't seen, but which might be something to look for. It doesn't come true from spores, but might produce something interesting nonetheless.

Last for today is Athyrium 'Ghost'. It is a grey/white one which forms a nice clump quickly. This is one of the growing number of named Athyriums and one of my favorites. I it is striking with its pale fronds and gets to be about 2 feet tall.
The weather is warmer, though we do have a bit of snow with a layer of ice under it - not good; it will be a bit warmer today so maybe the house will heat back up and I can move the house plants back to their windowsills.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Athyrium - part three

I've gotten the pictures up, but I'm freezing so I'm going to go and sit by the woodstove for awhile and will write all about these ferns at lunch time when it warms up a bit in here. 15 degrees below F. here this morning.
All right. A bit warmer now. Up to 20 outside and supposed to hit 30. That's almost a heat wave compared to what it has been.
This first one is Athyrium filix-femina, or European Lady Fern. It's deciduous and hardy to zone 4. It is very easy to grow, although somewhat delicate. Even though it prefers shade, it will tolerate a more sunny place if the soil stays moist. My fern book says that this is one of the most variable species in the world with over 300 different named forms. A good basic fern and so easy to find.
This second one is Athyrium ff (the common abbreviation for filix-femina) 'Victoria'. It is a bit taller than the species and the fronds are a bit heavier and more narrow. This has been quite vigorous since the one pictured was photographed in the spring after only being put in the previous fall.
This last one for today is Athyrium ff 'Dre's Dagger'. This has to be one of my all time favorites and is planted in several places. People always seem to notice it and ask what it is. I think it is pretty readily available. This one has tall, narrow fronds with cresting at the tips and also on the pinna (the individual branches) If I get the scanner out tomorrow, which I need to do for another project, I'll copy a diagram of the different parts of a fern. I don't usually remember all of them and certainly if I used them in conversation people wouldn't probably have a clue what I was talking about. Good to know, nevertheless, I suppose if you want to call yourself and plant person.

Hope you all are warmer than I am.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Athyrium - part two

This cute thing is Athyrium filix-femina 'Corymbiferum'. Quite a name. This was just planted last year so this is its baby picture. I'm told it is quite a fast grower so I expect a full sized plant this year - 2 feet tall or so. It is also supposed to be quite heavily crested with just bunches of tassles, giving it quite a fuzzy, frizzy look. I'm anxious to see what it will look like in person. I like pictures I've seen of it in catalogs - which is probably why I bought it in the first place. Ferns do so well in our woodsy gardens that it's hard not to want to collect them all. But isn't that part of the gardening addiction after all???? I guess I could have a worse hobby.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Athyrium - part one

This first of the Lady Ferns is Athyrium angustum rubellum 'Lady in Red'. There are a few of the Athyriums with red stems, but this one is very showy, very upright and seems to expand to a clump pretty quickly. The Lady Ferns also seem to mutate easily and so you will find lots of them when you go looking for ferns. They are also generally easy to grow and not too demanding of special conditions. Because of the large number, I'll do a few each day.
This secons one is Athyrium 'Apple Court Crested'. Sylvia probably knows Apple Court Nursery (which is in England) and I think was more famous for hostas than ferns, at least that's what I know them for. The crested ferns have little 'fans' at the tips of the fronds. Athyrium seems to do that a lot and I'll have more pictures of them in the next few days. This one was pretty small yet when I took the picture last spring. I look forward to taking all new pictures to replace the ones on my website when things come up in the spring - something that was more of a luxury when I had to use film. Now it's easy even though I sort of had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital camera age.

This last one is Athyrium 'Encourage'. It is much more crested than the last one. Kind of fuzzy looking with crests all down the frond rather than just at the tips.
No one seems to know exactly why these are called Lady Ferns, except maybe that they are so delicate and feminine. The European version is Athyrium filix-femina, which also grows here quite nicely. They are also much more delicate than the Dryopteris or male ferns also called filix-mas. Because all of these odd versions of the Lady Fern do not come true from spores, I guess we can expect the number of types to only increase - and that's a good thing for my garden.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


No, I'm not out of alphabetical order, at least not entirely. This odd looking fern is Phyllitis scolopendrium, but is also sometimes called Asplenium scolopendrium, though it seems to have nothing in common, at least looking at it, with the other aspleniums which are much more fern looking. This one has broad, thick, leathery leaves. It is a rather smallish plant, not over 8 or 10 inches tall. It is listed as hardy here in zone 6, even sometimes zone 5, but I find it is short lived outside, especially if we have a bad winter. The name comes from the Greek for 'centipede' which is for the two rows of regularly arranged linear sori (spore cases) on the lower surface of the frond. I do have a crested version of this one, but no picture, that has done well next to a large rock for a number of years. Not sure if the location is better or what, but I won't complain since it is a lovely plant and quite different. I have read that it doesn't like an acid soil and it was suggested that adding some limestone (not lime because that would be overkill) that will change the pH might be beneficial. This one is a North American native, but there are also European versions of it so it should be available most everyplace if you want to try it. Good drainage also appears to be essential to this one, much more than some of the other ferns which are happy living on stream edges and in swamps. More on those later.
Jane - who is expecting temperatures well below zero farenheit for the next few nights and maybe even a few inches of snow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New vs. Established Daylilies

Blogger would not let me post this morning, no matter what I tried, so I'm sneaking a little time now to get something up. I don't have the fern book here and am working on the daylily photo page for the website, so a few thoughts on hemerocallis this afternoon.
When you first plant a new daylily, I had always heard that you should cut off any scape as it might weaken the plant. I used to do it (well not all the time), but I think that as long as you don't let it set seed, you're probably all right. What I wanted to show is how different the blooms on new plants are from those on established ones. The photo above is of Watchyl Protean Spider the first year it bloomed. Not sure if this was the year we planted it or the next year.
This is the same plant last summer. You would hardly recognize it. I have occasionally had customers who were disappointed about the flower on a new plants, or were sure I had sent them the wrong thing. I guess I should keep these two photos together to show people who don't understand that new plants have to settle in to start to look like themselves. I find this especially true of daylilies, but I also see it to some extent in hostas where the crinkling often takes 3 or more years to get established.
Back to ferns tomorrow.

Monday, January 12, 2009


The only Arachnoides we have in the garden is Arachnoides simplicior. These are also known as holly ferns because of their leathery, shiny fronds. There is also a variegated version of this one which has yellow/gold on the leaves. Actually I think this may be a variegated one though I don't have it marked that way. This is just up in this pictures and the variegation gets more pronounced as the heat of summer arrives. The Arachnoides group is mostly native to Japan and China. This particular one grows in zones 6-9 and may be at least semi-evergreen in the warmer zones. It's not a huge fern, but showy because of the shine and variegation. As with most ferns, it grows in shady, moist, rich soil.
Tomorrow Asplenium - the Spleenworts.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Adiantum - the Maidenhair Ferns

Sometimes when I log on to write in the morning I haven't a clue as to what I'm going to do, or where I'm going. This was such a morning. As I sit here, looking out on a winter scene with a bit of snow on the ground and rhododendrons whose leaves tell me it is below 32 degrees, it's hard to imagine green and delicate foliage, only the stalwarts of the garden, the conifer, hollies and some others still persevering. But as the days are starting to get longer (they really are) and the gardening season begins to sneak up on us, I guess it's time to imagine some of the delights that await. As someone who is more of a shade gardener with probably 6 of our 10 acre garden in shade or at least partial shade, we have an abundant assortment of ferns scattered throughout. I think for this week or so, we'll wander amongst the ferns and imagine that spring is here.

This first one is our native (eastern) Maidenhair fern, Adiantum pedatum. Pedatum would have to do with feet in Latin, so there seems to be some sort of disconnect in the name, except that I can see a resemblance to ladies tresses, probably more like braids of some sort. These grow in our woods across the road in great numbers on the shaded, northfacing hillside amongst the trilliums and gingers. It is one of my favorite places to walk in the spring when I can steal a little time from chores. I always go there on my birthday because I know, except on really cold springs, everything will be up and gorgeous, including the yellow flowered violets that grow along the creek. Maidenhair fern seems to be one of the more difficult to transplant to a different region. If you're looking for one, find a garden center that has locally grown ones if you can and you'll probably have happier ferns.
This next one is Adiantum pedatum var. aleuticum. It is from the far north, as the name suggests and so far seems to be happy here on a cold hillside, growing under a huge magnolia where it never gets any direct sun and very little light at all. I always marvel at plants that can thrive in such conditions, what with the need for photosynthesis and all. I guess either more light gets to them than I think or they have just evolved to survive in those conditions. The leaflets on this one are larger and coarser than the eastern maidenhair, though it still has the wiry stems. All of the maidenhairs ferns have a tall(ish) stem where the frond come off from the top, as opposed to the fronds just coming out of the ground. It is sort of hand shaped with the fronds being like the fingers. Though I should try and explain that since it really isn't clear in the pictures.
The last Maidenhair fern that we have in the garden is a southern maidenhair fern which is sometime listed as a zone 7 and which I grew inside in a pot for many years thinking it wasn't hardy here. We have had it growing in the shade of a crabapple to the north of the cactus bed for about 5 years now and it increases each year. The light is brighter there which may be something it is adaped to given its southern roots. It is a more delicate fern with tiny, sort of triangular leaflets on the same wiry stem. The stems on all maidenhairs ferns seem to be easily broken, so it you have dogs that run through the garden, these may not be the best choice for you, but I wouldn't be without them as they add a lightness and delicacy to the garden that most other ferns cannot approach. Almost forgot - the name of this one is Adiantum capillus veneris.

Alphabetically, I suppose tomorrow we are on to Arachnoides.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Holly Mating and Outhouses

I had thought I had taken pictures of holly flowers, but can't find them and so I'll just describe the whole thing. Holly comes in male and female and you need both to get berries. If you don't care about berries, they'll live a happily celibate life and make great garden plants. If you want berries, there have to be male and female plants in some sort of proximity. One male makes plenty of pollen for quite a few females, so you can get older plants that have already bloomed, or buy ones that are male or female clones - some males that are commonly in the trade are Southern Gentleman, Red Escort - you get the idea. Holly pollen doesn't seem to be specific to a species, just has to be available when the female flowers are blooming. If you move to a property and want to know which plants in the yard are male and which are female, you just look at the flowers which are very different. Holly flowers are about 1/8 or an inch in diameter and white, so you have to look for them. Eventually I'll take some holly flower pictures and post them. If you need to tell what blooms when and which male to get for your female, there are charts which give blooming times. Enough on hollies. Please ask questions if I missed something or didn't explain it well enough.

These pictures are because my daughter Anna asked awhile back for pictures of the redone outhouse. The bast was rotting and it had gotten to look a mess. We tipped it over and Randy Lapp, the one who saves us every time we have a building/plumbing/electrical problem made a new base for it. I painted it and prettied it up so now it is nice to use again. I have had an outhouse to use for most of my adult life and would hate to not have one. We don't have indoor plumbing of the normal sort here, but rather a composting toilet and just running water, which as of 2 years ago now is also hot water. I still forget to turn on the hot for anything except dished or a bath, but I guess that's just as well. We have an on-demand system and if I don't turn the hot on, we're not making hot water and using electricity.
This is the inside which is white and grey. It was some sort of dirty yellow walls before with the grey, but the new paint is so nice - but the seat is still really cold this time of year.

A little touch to make it prettier here. These are dried flowers from Hydrangea 'Annabelle' on a little table that Hank's father made from scrap wood back when they were first married and didn't have much money for things like furniture. That makes the table almost 80 years old, which is amazing since it is in such good shape. Rambling again. Guess I'll go and eat breakfast.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ilex opaca

I'll be back later today to write about these - just time enough to upload the pictures right now.
OK, here I am, blogging while I eat my macaroni and cheese.
This first one is one of my favorite hollies, Ilex opaca 'William Hawkins'. It seems to still be a small bush even after 5 years, though it has grown some and is really healthy looking. The leaves are spiny, but long and thin. No berries yet on this one.

Next is Ilex opaca 'Morgan's Gold'. The rest of these are all trees, looking very opaca-ish and pyrimidal. The berries are gold and there are usually plenty of them.

This is a more unusual one and one of a series of selections, this one, Ilex opaca 'Corpening #3' (one would assume there are a #1 and a #2 it not more). It is an orange berry, very pumpkinish and since they are usually all berried up by Thanksgiving, this one is perfect to use then if all of the other flowers have been frosted.

Ilex opaca 'Cardinal' is one of many red berried forms. I hate to say it, but so many of them look just alike. I know people like to name things, but one of my pet peeves is that it should at least be distinctive enough or enough of an improvement in some way that it deserves to be named. Getting off soapbox!

This las one is definitely one of my favorites. It's Ilex opaca 'Canary' and is a bright yellow berried one. You definitely see this one from a distance. We have several, but the nicest one (and the one in the picture) is above the upper pond and is visible from lots of different places.

Maybe some general info on hollies and cultural stuff tomorrow while I decide where we're going next.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ilex - evergreen ones

Lots of photos this morning - more than I thought I had, so I'll leave the opacas until tomorrow and start with those which are less well know.
This first one is Ilex x attenuata 'Foster No. 2'. It is a tree, about 15 feet tall after 20 years, though it might be taller if it hadn't died to the ground the winter of the 50 below zero days. Smaller leaves and lots of berries which the cardinals just love. We have two of them planted along the walk up to the front of the house and now I can see them from my office window upstairs.

The next two are of Ilex x meserceae, this one is 'Blue Princess'. These are more bushy and outs have been here forever and haven't gotten over about 4 feet tall. These also get lots of berries and have very deep green, also smaller leaves. Oddly enough, this one seems to make berries at odd times during the year, often more than once a year.

And this one is 'Blue Girl'. I don't see a lot of difference, and both are very nice plants.

This next one is Ilex latifolia. This isn't quite hardy here. It might work all right outside with lots of protection and mulch, being more of a zone 7 plant, but I'm not taking a chance since it's so nice. It lives in a big pot and goes outside in the summer and lives on the sunporch in the winter. It is a most un-holly-like holly with it's big green leaves and really looks more like a rhododendron. No berries on this one yet, but I've only had it 2 years and it hasn't bloomed yet.

Ilex glabra 'Shamrock' is also a small bush. It is also known as inkberry because it has black berries rather than the expected red ones. Small leaves, no thorns - which is a good thing. As much as I love my hollies and probably have over 100 of them in the gardens in various places, I hate weeding near them because no matter how careful I am, I always end up geting at least one leaf impaled in my hand. Ouch! A good reason for growing some of the spineless kinds.

This one is a cross - Ilex cornuta x pernyi 'Dr. Kassab'. Cornuta is a Chinese holly and I'm not sure about Pernyi. It's a pretty plant, though and not too large.

Last but not least is another of the Iles aquifoliums, 'Crispa Aurea'. This one is a yellowish leaf which is a bit distorted, or crisped. This like the other aquifoliums is a really small plant here.

Tomorrow the opacas in all of their variations of berry color and leaf shape - bet you thought you knew what American Holly looked like.