Sunday, December 7, 2008

In Praise of Michigan Holly

Organic Gardening sent out this great little article in their latest e-newsletter, and I couldn't help but think of Michigan Holly Ilex verticillata. Also known as Winterberry, this deciduous shrub offers delicious fruits help tide birds over until spring. Its leaves turn and drop off shortly after the first frost, and those berries keep the show going all winter.

A nice addition to any yard or garden, Michigan Holly would make an excellent living fence or replacement for non-native shrubs. Keep in mind to get the berries a male and a female plant are needed, so you'll have to purchase at least two. At home in a wetland it will also settle nicely in drier sites and create a lovely spot for nesting birds in the summer. It can grow to as much as ten feet tall while keeping a nice upright shape.

It's a wee bit late to plant now, of course, but in the spring visit one of the Michigan Native Plant Nurseries and see what you can find!

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