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Evergreens in the Border

Holly "Blue Princess"

Thinking that they were too tender I avoided hollies for many years, but I finally decided to give them a try. I planted “Blue Princess” and “Blue Prince” about ten years ago. They are said to grow slowly, so I don’t know if I am too impatient, but they have grown very slowly.  They are growing in full sun, and there is no question that they are in acid soil. No need for Holly Tone fertilizer here.

Holly "Blue Prince"

The male plant, “Blue Prince” is growing even more slowly than his princess. And he didn’t even suffer from kids sliding down the hill and over the princess a couple of years ago.  The obvious point being made here is that hollies require male and female plants, whether evergreen or deciduous.  One male plant can pollinate several females.  My Princess has had berries, but not this year for some reason.  Once the berries have been frozen a few times they soften up and birds find them quite delicious.

Weeping Hemlock

Right next to the Prince is this Weeping Hemlock, planted at about the same time.  This has proved to be even slower growing than the hollies. It has spread out, but is still only about six inches tall. Maybe there is something going on with my soil. It is heavier, more claylike in this area.

Gold Threadleaf Cypress

At the other end of this border is the Gold Threadleaf Cypress, actually a chamaecypris. The deer have left it alone, which was a happy surprise for me.  The bright color is beautiful in every season, and I love the graceful way it falls. If the soil is limiting the speed of growth of the hollies and hemlock, it is having no effect at all on this shrub. It is growing just as vigorously as promised.

Fountain Juniper

The Fountain Juniper is also doing well in this bed. I bought it from Lilian Jackman at Wilder Hill Garden, along with a big pot of Northern Sea Oats. After two years both are thriving.

It is funny that I don’t realize how many conifers I have in the garden until I really took stock.  Now we are thinking about a BIG conifer project.  Just thinking.  I’ll keep you posted.

8 comments to Evergreens in the Border

  • Lisa at Greenbow

    These evergreens sure make this season interesting. You have a good collection.

  • I just did a post on the woman who bred the cold hardy blue hollies. http://laurries.blogspot.com/2010/12/holly-by-golly.html

    My Blue Princess / Prince do well here in CT zone 5, but you are right, they are slow to get going (and deer browse stunted them the first three years, do you get that?) I love your fountain juniper… it’s a coarse shaggy looking kind of plant, but a strong look against snow with its branches shooting outward!

  • Pat

    Lisa – There are so many wonderful conifers that seem more and more interesting to me.
    Laurrie – I am racing right over there to visit. And yes, the deer did do some damage.

  • Pat

    I recommend that everyone check out Laurrie’s post about Mrs. Meserve, the woman behind the plant. Great story!

  • This is a topic close to my heart Pat. I love the choices you have made . . . and if they are hardy for you they will work for me too!;>) My gardens could use more greens this time of year. The deer bless them, for they mostly leave my garden alone, do enjoy snacking on my evergreens. Happy Winter Solstice Pat!

  • I’ve been thinking about planting some hollies here, but I don’t know now if I’m patient enough to wait for them to grow:) But it’s good to see your chamaecypris doing so well–I did plant one of these this fall.

    Hope you are enjoying the holidays, Pat, and wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

  • Pat

    Carol – The hollies are beautiful and the deer are quite considerate. Happy Solstice to you. Too many clouds to see the eclipse last night. We got up and checked.
    Rose – Patience is always the problem, but time goes my faster and faster. Have you noticed that?

  • I love all of your choices in evergreens. Yes, prince and princess are slow growers. It’s hard to wait. Merry Christmas Pat.~~Dee

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