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When you enter the Shire Garden you are first greeted by a 12 foot, Ilex – opaca, ( American Holly ) named ‘ Old Heavy Berry ‘ and it lives up to its name. and beneath this holly we planted a ground cover of ivy, Hedera – hibernica, ( Atlantic Ivy ) which has a dark green leaf with light green veins, and is stunning year round. This makes for a peaceful entry and a graceful exit and was well thought out when planted. I knew over time I’d be planting many more Holly’s and under planting them with various kinds of ivy’s in different locations throughout the Shire. It was to be a symbol of protection and wholeness, for the holly would protect the garden from evil spirits and lighting and the ivy for eternal life and peace.

We now have some 10 different holies and about 8 varieties of ivy and all are used in our holiday decorating and gifting for here we believe to give the gift of holly and ivy to others will bring the presence of peace to light.

Some of my combinations are thus: first the holly then the ivy,

Holly, Ilex – aquifolium, ‘ Argentena Marginata Pendula ‘ a green with an almost pure white margin and red fruit and I combined it with, Ivy, Hedera – helix, ‘ Harrison ‘ a dark green leaf with white veins and winter color the green turns purple. This is a walk stopper all year.

Holly, Ilex – opaca, American Holly – ‘ Morgan Gold ‘ rich green foliage with assume heavy yellow fruit and is combined with, Ivy, Hedera – helix, ‘ Gold Dust ‘ a soft green foliage with splashes of green and gray throughout. On sunny days, WoW!

Holly, Ilex – verticillata, ( Black Alder, Winterberry ) – ‘ Sparkleberry ‘ is deciduous but is quite a fruit producer, what a show of red. I combined it with, Ivy, Hedera – helix, ‘ Little Diamond ‘ with her diamond-shaped leaves that are gray/green with a creamy white margin, all I can say is strawberries and cream.

Very often these combination find their way into Acorn Cottages arrangements and will often encourage new thoughts of other combinations of textures and colors. During the holiday we here at the Shire are always busy with traditions and the Holly and the Ivy have aways played a very important role. So may your days be filled with holly thoughts and your evenings twine with ivy’s warmth and may all your wishes come true….

A thought; My wish for you is a garden full of wonders and the holly and the ivy to keep you safe at home.

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