Holly, Holly — a magical symbol of Christmas
Alas, alas … The main «ingredient» of a Christmas wreath is not so easy to settle in your garden.
Holly holly is a beautiful evergreen shrub with bright red berries that remain on the branches until spring.
Known in Europe since the time of Ancient Rome, where it was revered during the winter festivities, and among the Celts it was a symbol of the Sun on Earth.
Later, and with the spread of Christianity, he tried on the role of the Christmas tree, in which he has successfully survived to this day. The fashion for the symbol of Christmas in the house has replaced the holly, but only because it grows more slowly than ate and it is simply a pity to cut it.
But holly branches with bright berries invariably adorn festive wreaths, symbolizing the crown of thorns, drops of blood and eternal life…
It is thermophilic and does not tolerate prolonged winter frosts of the Middle Strip.
However, there is good news: in Ukraine, its cultivation is quite realistic, since there are species that tolerate short-term frosts down to -200C. But even if the branches freeze, new shoots will appear in the spring and the plant will recover quite quickly.
If you purchased a varietal plant obtained by grafting, new shoots may lose varietal properties after freezing. Therefore, such an instance is best grown in a tub in a winter garden or in a room.
The holly, although it grows slowly, perfectly tolerates a shaping haircut, looks great in a hedge, and without the intervention of a gardener grows into a low tree with a pyramidal crown. In winter — the perfect decoration of the garden.
Lives up to a hundred years. In cold climates, it is unlikely to stretch above a meter.
In holly, individuals are divided into male and female, between which there are practically no visible differences. Therefore, it makes no sense to acquire one bush and prophesy for it the role of a bright winter garden decoration. In order for berries to appear and ripen on a tree, at least three, and preferably five, individuals will be required.
Perhaps the low prevalence of holly in our gardens is due to these qualities.
There are types of holly that are much more popular than holly and do not have any Christmas overtones at all. But, firstly, it is precisely the decorative landscape side of the issue that interests us, and secondly, only what is able to grow in our latitudes. Therefore, I present to your attention only two species that deserve attention.
Common holly (Ilex aquifolium)
- Growth area: humid subtropical and temperate forests.
- Flowering period: May June.
- Color spectrum: dark green leathery leaves (sometimes with a light border), inconspicuous white flowers, juicy red (less often orange, white, black) berries.
- Height: in natural habitats up to 25 m, we have about 2.5 m by 10 years.
- Growing conditions: moist places, fertile slightly acidified soils.
- Peculiarities: winters in cover (zone 5), evergreen tree, favors pruning and shaping.
holly mezerva (Ilex x meserveae).
- Growth area: hybrid of European and Korean hollies.
- Flowering period: May.
- Color spectrum: the leaves are blue-green, the berries are red, white. variety envy.
- Height: up to 2 m with a width of 1.5 m.
- Growing conditions: moist places, fertile, loose, slightly acidified soils.
- Peculiarities: the most frost-resistant of hollies, suitable for cultivation in the Middle lane, evergreen shrub.
IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW
The leaves of the holly are dark green, leathery, armed with sharp thorns that stab painfully even if the leaf fell off last year. The berries are inedible.
Holly loves moisture, but does not tolerate its stagnation. From excess water, he can get late blight, wood and roots will begin to rot. There is no point in treating such a plant — it is better to dig it up and burn it, and treat the earth with a fungicide.
HOLLY IN GARDEN DESIGN
Few gardens boast a hedge of holly or holly in the form of a tapeworm. But how good it is in winter!
Conifers turn green in snowdrifts, but without any bright decorations, viburnum looks attractive, but even without greenery, until the birds peck all the berries. One holly is elegant until spring.
COMBINATION IN SHAPE AND COLOR
As a pair for holly, I recommend plants with a contrasting color or perennials with expressive large leaves that differ in shape.
REPRODUCTION AND TRANSPLANT
The best way to propagate holly is cuttings. So you save all the varietal qualities, in addition, this method is the easiest to propagate the holly due to its good rooting.
The cuttings are cut from this year’s growths, which have already become woody (July). The length of the cuttings is 5-6 cm, two internodes should fit in them. An oblique cut is made under the lower internode, and a straight cut above the upper one.
The cuttings are placed in a closed mini-greenhouse. Soil — humus 10-15 cm thick and a covering layer of 2 cm of sand. Oblique sections are immersed obliquely in a moist substrate. Humidity is maintained by spraying. Protection from direct sunlight is required.
Already in September you will receive rooted seedlings, which are placed for growing in separate containers. It is better for seedlings to winter in a cellar or greenhouse (buried in the ground). Two-year-old individuals are transplanted to a permanent place.
He does not like to transplant, so immediately choose a suitable place for him: fertile, moist soil with protection from moisture stagnation (drainage). It is better if it is a shaded area, the holly tolerates full shade very favorably, but it will be worse to bloom here, regular watering will be required in the sun.
The best time for planting in open ground is spring, so that the plant is well rooted by autumn. For the first few years, winter shelter of young seedlings is necessary.
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