Two confused variegated Holly bushes, confused! I’ll explain later on.
We have three of the variegated Holly bushes Golden King, the one above is in the main border of the back garden. I keep this one well trimmed not allowing it to outgrow this position where it brightens up the border in those dreary Winter days.
Golden King first made an appearance in 1898 in Edinburgh, the result of a cutting from Ilex x Hendersonii.
The beautifully shaped leaves have a golden yellow edge, completely free of spines, making pruning so much easier. This evergreen will brighten your garden in the dullest of Winter days.
This much larger one below which is in full shade in the round garden is left very much to its own devices, only getting a tidy up now and again when it starts to get out of control.
Some years it does produce berries, never smothered with them, although perhaps there would be more if it were planted in a sunnier position. I don’t think Golden King is renowned for producing masses of berries, how does it do in your garden?
The third of these Holly bushes is in the woodland garden, this is where I think it looks at its very best, maintained to a height of about six feet. Last year we felt it was in need of pruning back as it was starting to hide the trunk of the young Acer Griseum. Well I say young but its actually been in the garden for about sixteen years, very slow growing but fabulous peeling cinnamon coloured bark.
Picture below taken on the 9th of January, some of the Ferns are still looking quite fresh.
I mentioned confusion at the beginning of this post, well I know most of you experienced gardeners will be aware that the Holly Golden King, in spite of the name is actually a female plant and the other Holly which I highlight today is named Silver Queen, yes, yes, I know its the male form. Obviously someone had a sense of humour. However you may well have a holly bush in your garden which you know to be male and have decided to plant a female form which will berry, well I can understand that many people would choose Silver Queen and end up very disappointed.
Golden King will eventually reach a height of 600cm, if left to its own devices or can be kept to the height you desire with selective pruning.
Not everyone is attracted to plants with variegated foliage, this only became clear to me when I started blogging, and although initially I felt why on earth would you not like this, I sort of get it now. Well it wouldn’t do if we all had the same taste.
The Royal Horticultural Society justifiably gave it the prestigious award of garden merit.
• Pruning – I have pruned Hollies with no ill effect in every season. My preference is to do it in late Winter when the berries have gone over therefore not affecting the formation of flowers. Secateurs are recommended although I have used shears for shaping up.
• Hardiness – Fully Hardy
• Position – Sun/Shade, Any reasonable free draining soil.
• Height – 600cm, Easy to keep in check.
• Soil – Any reasonable garden soil, moist and free draining
• - Mail Order
Silver Queen, how many people have you fooled then?
In our garden you started off in a big tub, a grand looking standard form. After a few years you got rather poorly and actually lost most of your leaves.
I think drainage may have been the problem, anyway I removed it from the tub and planted it in the main border, not feeling all that optimistic. However it didn’t take that long for recovery to begin. Its now a very healthy specimen, about five feet tall, the angle of the picture makes it impossible to see that it is on a stem. I have to take care that it doesn’t get too top heavy.
So, if you are looking to get berries on your Golden King, this prickly male form Silver Queen planted nearby is just the ticket. Or on the other hand there is another male variegated holly that has the same colouring as Golden King but has prickly foliage and its named Golden Queen, and yes its male, aw lets not go there.
The garden is more or less dormant at the moment and with little more to say, this is where I intended to sign off. Only, its just started snowing at 9am on the 14th of January. Quite heavy actually and within 30 minutes the boring landscape was transformed. Think I should go outdoors and take some pictures, its 2c/36f, off to get wrapped up, and by the time you see this I will have added some pictures below.
The Daffodil February Gold is coming away nicely.
The Hamamelis braves lower temperatures than this.
© 2013, Alistair. All rights reserved.