The holidays are upon us once again, meaning time with loved ones, yummy food and beautiful decorations. One decoration you may even have displayed in your home is that of the American Holly, a popular house accessory this time of year. Did you know that here at Bernheim, we have a Holly Collection that contains more than 160 cultivars? Each bears distinct characteristics in form and shape, with fruit colors ranging from red to burgundy and yellow to orange.
The Holly has perhaps the oldest history of any other decorative evergreen. The use of holly in holiday tradition dates back to the Greeks and Romans, who adorned their homes with wreaths and garland made from holly boughs. This tradition was thought to predict the outcome of the following year depending upon what type of holly was used and where, or when, it was placed in the home. It is reported that hundreds of thousands of holly sprigs were displayed in London every year during the 16th through 18th centuries.
These otherwise quiet specimens come alive during November and December as branches become heavy with the display of bright berries. Cedar waxwings and robins can be seen throughout the winter months foraging for some of their favorite fruits among the grove. Other notable species of holly in this collection, such as Ilex decidua and Ilex verticillata, bear their fruits on leafless stalks during the winter months.
As a part of your holiday celebration, be sure to stop by Bernheim and take a stroll around the Two Ponds Loop that winds its way through our holly collection. And of course, happy holly-days!