07 February 2008

Frost on young Blue Princess Holly

I love hollies because they have berries for the birds and deep green for the winter. Now that I've gotten all the visions of poor hollies shorn into bizarre and artificial globes out of my mind from those mall and suburban landscapes of childhood! I like hollies natural shaped and mixed closely with other shrubs. The American Hollies (not pictured) are particularly lovely -- especially now that I've seen their true potential twenty or so years down the road after my visit to Bernheim Forest in Kentucky. They have dozens and dozens of hollies that are twenty, thirty feet tall, and most have the natural shape of an enormous Christmas tree -- though some are more rangy and some are perfectly full.

I got lucky this past November and happened to catch the local Lowe's during their plant clearance for the winter. At all but one Lowe's, only a few straggling, struggling plants remained. But at the very newest one -- the one the local folks aren't used to being there -- there were loads of shrubs still in great shape. (It drives me crazy when the big box stores don't care for their plants and let them die in public en masse in the heat of the Arkansas summer. I can't bear to go to our local Home Depot for this reason...) The sale had gone down to 75% off -- so I packed my car with hollies and other evergreens -- Nellie Stevens holly, Blue Princess holly, needlepoint holly, some juniper, a few old fashioned weigelias.

Now all that was before I read the book that has refigured my garden philosophy towards native plants.  Larrapin Garden has always been about food for birds, butterflies, beneficials and us...but I had failed to understand the difference between making that food Ozark American vs. Chinese (so to speak).  Wow, have my eyes been opened!

Bringing Nature Home (book review to come) is my new favorite book -- the book I'd buy a whole case of and distribute to everyone I know if I could. After reading the wonderful book review over at A Study in Contrasts I want to review some of my favorite garden books here. Stay tuned. Thanks for visiting!


jodi said...

Beautiful. Mind you, we have frost, snow and ice all over everything up here...I'd like to have a little warmer weather, if you can send some our way. I'll look forward to reading your book reviews!

Leigh said...

Dear Jodi - thanks for stopping by! Since that frosty post, it's been mostly ice and rain...much less photogenic! This winter has been weird, a combination of more cold spells mixed with brief, strangely warm -- like mid 60's -- days that turn to storms quickly... Much less winter yard time than last winter. I've just found your blog and look forward to following along! Your book sounds wonderful too. So glad to meet you Jodi!