As we head towards the throws of mid winter it is the iconic Holly and Ivy that bring a rich evergreen to the garden and with their variegated forms a much needed splash of colour on dreary winter days. With the added bonus of red berries, these two valuable plants can be a main stay of
the winter garden. Here are some variates that are well worth a spot in your garden.
Ilex aquifolium ‘Aurea Marginata’: Medium to slow growing, large shrub to small tree, with a compact bushy habit, it has small glossy dark green leaves with a thin yellow margin and red berries ( female)
Hedra canariensis dentata ‘Varigata’: A vigorous large ivy that commands a large spot. Large hand sized leaves a dark mat green, with silvery and cream edges. It not only looks striking grown on a large wall, it also makes excellent ground cover forming mounds, and grows well in dry shade.
Ilex aquiflium ‘Pyramidalis’: A slow growing, hansom small tree with conical habit, it makes a good focal point in a small garden. Bright emerald green foliage with wavy, spiny edges and an abundance of red fruit (female)
Hedra helix ‘Green Ripple’: A delicate ivy, with small mid green foliage, with rippled edges and deep lobs. Good on small walls.
Ilex aquifolium ‘Sliver Milkmaid’: A Large shrub with open habit, spreading when mature, Dark green glossy leaves with white central splashes. Red berries freely borne (female)
Hedra helix ‘Gold Heart’: A striking ivy, non vigorous, pink stems hold small neat dark green leaves with a bright yellow splash of colour in the centre. Ideal for a low fence or small wall.
Both Hollys and Ivies are low maintenance plants that thrive in semi-shade and in both cases will cope with some dry conditions, they will grow well in most soils but do not like water logging. Although holly has the dramatic berries the flowers/fruits of the ivy should not be missed, arriving mid autumn onwards and flowering in the winter months,it is a bonus to many insects. Of Course with Christmas not far off, holly will be brought into the home for festive decorations, Ivy can look equally good, either in it’s natural form or spayed silver or gold.
These two plants are often under used in the garden, which is a great shame as they have so much to offer, both as a back drop for other ‘showier’ plants and very much in their own right. I sincerely hope that will change.