Friday, December 18, 2009

Holly Jolly

This time of year makes us reflect on the happenings and our blessings from the past year. This year I entered social media on Twitter and on Facebook and I have met online and or in person some wonderful people in the horticulture field. A couple of which I want to mention is Anna (Flowergardengirl) Looper who is a joy of a person and Sheri Lee Pierce who was one is not the first person I followed on Twitter. Sheri Lee is formulater and owner of Paradise City Herbal in Northampton MA. She helped cultivate my interest in my newest favorite native plant the American Elderberry. And also Jackie Cross late of the state of Florida but native to TN who is an excellent garden writer, blogger and friend. and last but not least Michelle Tune (The Raw juice girl who coached me over the internet one day and saved my my burned hand, thank you for being there Michelle.

The plant that really drove my interest in natives back in 1993 was the yellow berried American Holly(Ilex opaca).Of course my interest in this plant was due not only to the odd but cheerful berry color but to the fact that I love winter interest plants probably more than others because they brighten up our winter landscape. One day back in 1993 a friend and myself drove an 8 hour round trip just to obtain a yellow berried American Holly from the then President of the American Holly society Hal Elmore in Knoxville TN. Hal didn't think we were crazy since he was a holly nut himself. The yellow berried form of American holly is rare and is mostly found in parts of North Carolina, Virginia and other southeastern states. Several specimens have been registered and named by the American Holly society. Some of the more famous ones and better ones to grow are Longwood(original tree at Longwood Gardens) Morgan Gold and Canary. Longwood was my first purchase and is my favorite. Yellow berried American hollies are identical in growth habit and looks to the red berried forms we are most familiar with except that the yellow ones in my experience may be a little slower than the red although that may not always be the case. Either way don't ever turn up your nose at this gem because it is a different color for they do stand out.

Last while I have this opportunity I want to thank all of my family and friends for being supportive to me in this year full of changes and moves. And especially my daughters and for Donna, who gave me a breathe of life again and showed me that I was maybe not quiet as crazy as I thought I was and for putting up with me pulling over on the side of the road to take a picture or to ask for seeds for some plant that I see. Happy Holidays everyone and thank you for reading.


  1. Oh Kevin!! Big hugs!!! We are there for you. I am anxious to work with you and learn about our NC. I love it as much as you do. You are a good man and this new location is perfect. Lots of history and opportunity. I'm glad you got it. I'm sure you have more ideas for it than you have hours in the day to get it done.

  2. Kevin,

    Been in the woods of most of NC and never heard of this yellow holly. The red holly berries I have a hard time seeing them since I'm legally color blind.

  3. What gorgeous berries - I love that unique colour for winter interest - sunny yellow!

  4. Kevin, you are a wonderful man. I know your success with this new location will be your best ever. I believe in you.

  5. Kevin,

    I have enjoyed your blog posts from the start and this Holly post is another great one.

    You are such a dear person! I have been remiss in my blogging and reading of the blogs. Imagine my surprise when I came in today to catch up and saw you had mentioned my name in the same paragraph as some of your wonderful friends and mentors.

    Lots of garden love and hugs to ya. You are an inspiration & I am happy to know you :-)


  6. great blog and your right you make great friends on twitter love your knowledge and love of Native plants - Rebecca