February 26, 2009

Have a Berry Happy Bird Day with Holly

The best entertainment this week has been the bird party! The Robins and Cedar Waxwings have been having a berry good time in the Oak Leaf Hollies.

The Oak Leaf Holly is a hybrid and stands up well year-round through drought in summers, soggy winters and hard freezes. It is rated for zones 6-9b. If you have clay soil, this is a good holly to grow in your garden.

Forming a natural, pyramidal shape, the Oak Leaf Holly is an evergreen that grows around 15 feet high but only 8 feet wide. You can plant this holly in full sun or part shade. You may find it listed as Ilex x ‘Oak Leaf’ or with a common name of Red Oak Leaf Holly.

As a natural bird feeder, the Oak Leaf Holly is one of the best. These hollies are loaded with red berries that obviously provide food for the birds.

In the springtime, the honey bees literally swarm the new flowers. You don't need a male and female for flowers and berries, so one of these hollies can stand alone.

If deer are a problem in your garden, try the Oak Leaf Holly. My shrubs have suffered no deer damage - a necessity for my outer gardens.

We use a trio for screening one side of our garden on the east, keeping company with several osmanthus fragrans, a Kwansan cherry and several perennials. We use another as an accent between our guest parking and our private parking space on the southwest side of the house where the sun is harsh.

I love the versatility and performance of the Oak Leaf Holly. The birds think it's tops, too!

Story and photos by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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