Hampshire Life - - Holly -

Ilex cre­nata, which is ideal for cloud prun­ing in lay­ered or­ganic shapes.

Af­ter many suc­cess­ful years as a com­mer­cial nurs­ery, in­clud­ing ex­port­ing hun­dreds of hol­lies to the USA and sell­ing thou­sands to fa­mous gar­dens all over the UK, in­clud­ing Buckingham Palace and 10 Down­ing Street, Louise de­cided to close when the re­ces­sion hit in 2008. “The dra­matic change from phones ring­ing, trans­port lor­ries com­ing and go­ing, cat­a­logues sent out and or­ders com­ing in, was a very clear sign, and I dis­man­tled the whole busi­ness quickly, so as not to run into debt,” she re­calls.

This change of di­rec­tion has led to the reg­is­tra­tion as a Na­tional Plant Col­lec­tion for

Ilex by the Na­tional Coun­cil for the Con­ser­va­tion of Plants and Gar­dens. “I ap­plied to the peo­ple at Plant Her­itage, we had a visit from one of their of­fi­cers and we gave them a list of the hol­lies held here. All the in­for­ma­tion went be­fore two com­mit­tees, and we were then reg­is­tered. Very sim­ple and straight­for­ward,” she ex­plains.

Groups are wel­come by ap­point­ment to view the ar­ray of hol­lies and they are sure to be in­spired by Louise’s pas­sion for th­ese hardy plants that suit all home gar­dens, both for­mal and in­for­mal in style. • Al­ways buy healthy plants, mak­ing sure the roots are not cir­cling the pot and that the leaves are shiny and green

• Choose a site with plenty of room for it to be ad­mired

• Plant with great care in a good-sized hole, back filled with 30% com­post and your own earth. Wa­ter and feed well

• Do not let weeds and grass com­pete with the holly roots, by mulching reg­u­larly

• Feed the young plant lib­er­ally, tomato food is good. Hol­lies are greedy feed­ers when young

Var­ie­gated Ilex aquifolium ‘Pyra­mi­dalis Aurea Marginata’

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