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Christmas Jewel Holly

December Plant of the Month

Christmas Jewel'Tis the season to buy hollies fa la la la laaa la la la laaaaaa! Hollies are starting to show off their winter berries and Christmas Jewel is one of our new favorites!

This holly is a new variety from Garden Debut, an evergreen shrub that reaches 10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide at maturity. Christmas Jewel is a moderate grower with a naturally pyramidal, compact and upright growth habit. Grow it in full sun or a partially shady area.

These plants are easy to care for with very little pruning needed, but can be easily sheared into a hedge if desired. They are also nice when used in containers, as a screen or a specimen plant in the landscape. Another great thing about planting hollies of any kind, is that they are relatively pest and disease free. And yup, they're deer resistant.

Christmas Jewel of course has those classic holly shaped leaves- dark green and glossy, oblong with spiney sides and a point on the end. They're not super sharp spines however, unlike some of the more vicious holly varieties out there! Long lasting, large red berries appear in fall and winter. Don't worry about needing more than one or having a male or female to get berries. Christmas Jewel does not need a pollinator in order to produce the fruit.

Christmas Jewel is best known for its winter interest, but will surely become an anchor for your landscape. Come take a look at the beautiful hollies in stock now at The Garden Center and enjoy Christmas cheer year-round!

 

September Plant of the Month

Cape Honeysuckle

cape honeysuckle

Cape Honeysuckle might have a misleading name, but this plant won't do you wrong! Not a true honeysuckle, it's actually related to trumpet vine, desert willow and  jacaranda. It gets its name from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa where it is a native plant. Yup, South Africa, where it gets nice and hot and dry. It does just as well here as it does there!

The average size of this beauty is about 6-8 tall and wide, though it depends on how you prune it. It can be grown as a shrub or trained as a vine. As a shrub, it will have a loose, open vase shaped growth habit. As a vine, it can grow 15' or more. It's also a fast grower and if left to its own devices, will shoot up runners far from the main plant-just clip 'em if they get outta hand.

Cape honeysuckle can be recognized by its glossy dark green, diamond shaped leaves. This plant will get covered in vibrant red-orange honeysuckle-like blooms year round. This no doubt attracts lots of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

Cape honeysuckle is considered a tropical evergreen, but around here it tends to be a semi-evergreen or perennial. Most years it will not freeze back, but if it does, it comes back every spring.

Grow Cape Honeysuckle in containers or in the ground. It grows best in full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. Pair it with perennials like Esperanza and Plumbago for explosive color!

Nellie R. Stevens Holly

December Plant of the Month

nellie r. stevensNothing says December Plant of the Month like a good 'ol holly plant. Nellie R. Stevens is a favorite variety for many reasons, its most noteworthy being its showy red-orange berries!

What's in a Name?

Nellie R. Stevens is a hybrid between English holly and Chinese holly. The garden that the original hybrid plant was produced in belonged to Nellie Robinson Stevens, a teacher and avid gardener. "Miss Nellie" collected the seeds of the hybrid, hence the name.

Growth Habits and Use in the Landscape

A large evergreen shrub, Nellie Stevens forms a pyramidal shape with dense branching. The leaves are dark green and glossy, oblong and prickly, making them a good choice for security barriers. Deer don't care for the texture much either. Vigorous and fast growing, this holly can be used as a small tree, or planted in groups for screens or windbreaks. Give Nellie plenty of room, she grows to about 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide, sometimes larger.

Small white blooms will appear in spring. In fall you'll start to see large red-orange berries. This holly is one of the few that does not require a pollinator to set fruit. However, like fruit trees, it will produce even more berries if you are able to find a male Edward J. Stevens Holly.

Where to Put it?

Nellie R. Stevens hollies have pretty good heat tolerance and are drought tolerant once established. They prefer well drained soil and while rich acidic soil is a plus, it's not absolutely necessary for these hollies to grow. One of the great things about this variety is that it's low maintenance and keeps its shape even without pruning. If needed, prune in winter. Plant your Nellie R. Stevens holly in full sun to part shade and enjoy interest in your garden year-round!

October Plant of the Month

Elaeagnus

elaeagnus

Elaeagnus, also sometimes called Silverberry is our October pick for Plant of the Month. This plant may look plain at first glance, but read on to see why it's so tough and versatile! There over 50 different varieties of this shrub; the most common variety that we carry is called Elaeagnus ebbingei. They are evergreen shrubs with an upright, spreading growth habit with dense, full foliage. Fast growing when young, they make an excellent choice for privacy screening.

A Closer Look

At first, Elaeagnus might look like any other shrub in the landscape. But a closer look reveals silvery, olive green foliage. One of the most notable characteristics are the silvery or  coppery brown dots on the leaves. These little dots reflect sunlight giving them a slight shimmer in the light. Those little dots also give it a rough, bumpy texture similar to sandpaper. Elaeagnus also makes small, but very fragrant bell-shaped white flowers in October or November. The flowers are followed by a small orange-red drupe fruit that ripens in spring. These little fruits are also edible!

Tough Stuff

This plant is extremely tough. It tolerates poor, rocky soil as well as our Texas heat. It's also very drought tolerant once established and can even tolerate salt and wind for those who want to plant it near the coast.
Oh yeah, remember that rough, bumpy texture? The deer don't like that and generally leave Elaeagnus alone. Relatively disease and pest free, it's pretty easy to grow; although spider mite can sometimes get after it.

In the Landscape

Give Elaeagnus ebbingei plenty of space and plant in full sun or partial shade. It can grow to about 6' tall and 4' wide. Other varieties vary in size and some can reach 15' tall! The silvery foliage of Elaeagnus looks especially nice against darker foliage plants like some of the dark purple Loropetalums, Magnolias or maybe a Leyland Cypress.

These shrubs can be espaliers, background or barrier plants and they are good for slopes and erosion control. While it can be clipped into a hedge, you may be fighting long unruly branches trying to poke out of that nice neat form you want. Generally it does better when left to its own devices. Also a good choice near the pool, exposure to chlorine won't bother it one bit. You can even grow Elaeagnus in a container!

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November Plant of the Month

Dwarf Chinese Holly

Chinese Holly
Dwarf Chinese Holly

'Tis the season to plant holly fa la la la la la la la la! Okay, so it's not quite holiday time yet, but it's the perfect time of year to plant trees and shrubs. Especially if you're thinking about ways to add color to your winter landscape. Hollies not only offer beautiful, glossy green foliage when everyone else is asleep, many hollies produce colorful berries. Here's just one of the many varieties that we carry at The Garden Center.

Dwarf Chinese Holly has those hallmark spiny holly leaves and lots of them! Its very dense branching gives it a compact, rounded form. While it does produce berries, the foliage is so thick that you might not ever notice them!

This holly is excellent when used as a low hedge or barrier plant. It's perfect for those hard to fill landscape areas like corners. Plant a few together for a groundcover look. Plant it under windows where the spiny foliage could deter intruders. Since it's slow growing, you could even plant Dwarf Chinese holly in a container.

This plant is tough too! It can adapt to a wide range of soil types as long as it's got good drainage. While it prefers cool, moist soil, it is also very drought tolerant once it's established. Plant Dwarf Chinese Holly in full to part sun for the best results. Pruning will help to keep this plant neat and tidy, but won't need it often. Bonus: Dwarf Chinese Holly's thick, spiny leaves make it deer resistant.

Ready to plant one? The Garden Center has Dwarf Chinese Holly available right now! Pick up a three gallon container for $24.99. We also have plenty of other holly varieties to choose from. Don't forget that we are still having our 40% off sale until the end of November!