Vermont Garden Journal: Holly

Nov 25, 2015

Holly shrubs used to be placed around houses to ward off evil spirits, bad luck, animals and even fairies. The leaves and berries were used medicinally and in Celtic folklore the Holly King ruled the land during the winter.

Today, holly shrubs are still a part of holiday traditions and both native and exotic types can be grown in Vermont. If you want to grow holly, make sure that you have a least one male planet for every four female plants to get berries in the fall.

Where to Plant

Holly look best planted in groups and in a place where you can see bright berries. Birds also love them, sometimes cleaning out the fruits before you can harvest. 

Seasonal Care

In spring, add some sulfur and compost to the soil. During the winter, protect the plants with a wrap of burlap to block the cold, desiccating winter winds.

And now for this week's tip: wrap young trees with hardware cloth or tree wrap now to prevent mice from girlding the trunk in winter. Place the wrap one- inch below the soil and as high as the lowest branches.