How can we brighten up a bleak winter landscape?
One way is by incorporating evergreen and semi-evergreen shrubs into
For centuries Europeans have been using hollies to dress up their
winter landscapes, indoors and out. To brighten up your surroundings,
consider these holly and holly-look-a-likes in your
landscaping plans for the coming year.
-- (Ilex x meserveae) The most commonly grown holly in America's
Midwest. It has spiny, lustrous leaves that are a deep beautiful green.
Hollies require both male and female plants for production of the
coveted red berries. A reputable nursery should be able to assist with
choosing compatible male and female cultivars. Desiccation in winter
winds and sun scald in the summer can be a problem so hollies need a
protected location. North and easterly exposures work particularly well
for growing hollies in our climate. Many hybrids are available, some
faring better in winter than others, so pick one that is appropriate
for where you live.
-- (Mahonia aquifolium) Leaves are similar to Ilex in the sense that
they are a spiny, lustrous dark green; however, Oregon grapeholly has
compound leaves and gets a lovely purple hue in winter. This shrub has
a rather expressive form, sometimes squat and dense and other times
more irregular and open. In spring it is adorned with bright yellow
flowers followed by persistent dark-blue berries in the autumn. Growing
3 feet high and wide, it is perfect for smaller more protected
locations. Give it some shade. Native to the northwestern region of the
United States. Zone 5-6.
-- (Ilex opaca) This is a holly for the plant collector that wants a
It needs moist acidic soils and protection from excessive
The form is distinctly pyramidal and approaches 30 feet tall in
its native region of the southeastern US. Zone 5.
-- (Mahonia repens) Native to Nebraska's Pine Ridge and the Black
Hills, this is a Miwdest version of Oregon grapeholly. Similar to its
in appearance, with slightly duller leaves, its outstanding fall color
surpasses that of Oregon grapeholly. It only grows 10-18 inches high
and has a gently creeping habit. Yellow flowers dress it up in the
spring and black fruits in late summer. Once it is established it is
extremely drought tolerant. Zone
Christina Hoyt, design assistant, Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
from the Grower