Tag Archives: holly

Holly Needs a Male, and Cold Peppers

Connecting the drip irrigation to the spigot behind my compost pile today, my eyes fell on five nearby Meserve holly bushes. Which brought my thoughts back to last fall, when I realized that I’ve never seen berries on those shrubs.

Hollies are dioecious plants (“two houses”): some are male, others are female. Only the female plants bear the bright, red fruits that, along with spiny, shiny leaves, are so essential a decoration for the winter solstice. To bear fruits (which are ripened ovaries, the female flowers must be dusted with pollen from male flowers.

Last fall, I reasoned that the lack of berries could be that the plants were too young (no, I planted them over 15 years ago), that the plants were too shaded (if so, there would have been at least a few berries), that late frosts were killing the blossoms (unlikely every year), or that …

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Holly Needs Sex

LEE’S UPCOMING LECTURES/WORKSHOPS
•Jan. 9: Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association, Minneapolis, MN, “Weedless Gardening”, “Luscious Landscaping, with Fruiting Trees, Shrubs, and Vines”
•Jan. 23: Long Island Horticultural Conference, Ronkonkoma, NY, “Pruning Shrubs”
•Jan. 25, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Saratoga Springs, NY, “Growing Figs in Cold Climates”, “Espalier Fruits”
•Feb. 6, Indiana Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN, “Multi-Dimensional Vegetable Growing”
•Feb. 15, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Burlington, VT, 
“Grape Expectations: Everything From Choosing Varieties to Eating the Berries”, “Pruning Fruit Trees, Shrubs, and Vines”
•Feb. 20, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention, Niagara Falls, CA, “Uncommon Fruits with Commercial Potential”
•March 1, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, Danbury, CT, “Growing Figs in Cold Climates”, “Multi-Dimensional Vegetable Gardening/ Farming”
•March 15, Connecticut Master Gardener Conference, Manchester, CT, “Fruits for Small Gardens”

AND NOW, ON TO HOLLY’S PROBLEMS

The problem is obvious: No sex. No sex, no berries. Oh, did I mention that I’m writing about hollies, my hollies? Now, …

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