Saturday, October 14, 2006

Variegated Blue Holly (Ilex x meserveae 'Honey Maid')

Variegated Blue Holly
Ilex x meserveae 'Honey Maid'
(EYE-lecks) (MESS-erv-ay)

This is a very unique and beautiful variegated form of the Blue Holly. I have been growing a Holly collection in one garden for years and this has been one of the nicest additions to it in a long time. It has been frustrating to cultivate the Variegated English Holly (I. aquifolium) in Connecticut. It does well for several mild winters then disaster strikes when we have a bad year and the winter winds and sun burn off most of the foliage. The English Holly seems to be on the edge of its hardiness range here and can look bad after a harsh winter. It appears to be stem and root hardy so if I use it is usually in a remote place that gives it time to recover. ‘Honey Maid’ on the other hand seems to have made through last winter okay, no damage. It was planted when dormant in late November and performed well all season. I have it in two different gardens and it continues to flourish in both places. I haven’t seen any berries yet but they are reported to be a nice red. Another nice thing about this plant is that it is generally smaller than most of the other Blue Hollies. I have been using a lot of dwarf ‘Blue Angel’ hollies in foundation and terrace plantings and that is also a winner. It grows very slowly but still has the charm of the bigger blues.
I would recommend ‘Honey Maid’ as an unusual accent plant.

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