24th November 2012

Holly is a wonderful, slow-growing evergreen tree that could help wildlife in our gardens in several ways. The density and prickliness of the foliage provides shelter for many nesting birds including Thrushes, Blackbirds, Dunnock, Finches and Goldcrests . Bees and Bumblebees love the nectar and pollen from the tiny flowers and the caterpillars of the Holly Blue Butterfly feed on the flowers and buds in spring (the summer brood feeds on Ivy). Birds of the Thrush family especially love their berries in winter. The deep leaf-litter that tends to form under Holly Trees is also great for hibernating small mammals and

The small, delicate Holly Flowers

The small, delicate Holly Flowers

toads. Shade-tolerant, Holly bushes are  either male or female, and need the other form nearby, though not necessarily in the same garden, to be pollinated and produce berries. The Holly has long been held as powerful in traditional beliefs, including the practice for centuries of planting one near the back door as protection from Witchcraft and Lightening! The wood was used in wet weather, as it’s fierce way of burning means it lights well even when wet. Conditions: A beautiful dawn was followed by a bright, cool, dry day. Temperature: Max 8, Min 2 C

Young Holly berries, still green, on native Holly

Young Holly berries, still green, on native Holly

One of the variegated garden varieties of Holly

One of the variegated garden varieties of Holly, just as useful to wildlife as the native variety.

The lovely dawn this morning

The lovely dawn this morning

 

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