Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ilex serrata 'Sundrops'

I know this is a horrible picture, but I managed to find one white berry. The bush is caged to keep the rabbits from getting to it since it is still so small and rabbits have a nasty habit of eating things almost down to the ground. The name of this one is Ilex serrata 'Hatsuyuki'. It is obviously one of the deciduous hollies and is just a bush with green leaves in the summer. I expect as it gets bigger and makes lots of berries, these will be nice mixed with sprays of red, orange and yellow berried ones.
This one is Ilex serrata 'Sundrops' and has a gold splashed variegation. It just lights up when the sun hits it. So far this is a small bushy one, though we've only had it a few years. It seems happy with quite a bit of sun.
There are far fewer deciduous hollies which will grow in places with real winters than the evergreen ones, which is probably why they aren't as well known. There are also just far fewer deciduous species all together. In my big holly book, the deciduous ones take up just 18 pages while the evergreen ones run for 250 pages with the opacas being the largest group.
If you want to try to grow a deciduous holly, one of the best berrying ones is called 'Sparkleberry'. Maybe I just like the name. Species to look for are decidua, monticola, serrata and verticillata. All are small trees (think dogwood sized or smaller) or bushes and so don't need as much space as a large holly tree. Most seem content with some shade and average garden soil and water. They are pretty much pest free and don't require pruning past what you do when you pick stems for decorating.
Maybe some of the lesser known evergreen ones tomorrow and then off to something else.

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