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.
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.
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.
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.
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.