****GROWN ON OUR FARM HERE IN TENNESSEE ****
*** WINTERBERRY HOLLY ***
It may come as a surprise to many people that there are hollies that not only drop their leaves in advance of winter but become stunning landscape plants in the process.
I am thinking of the winterberry holly, a big and showy native shrub that has spawned a handful of even lovelier varieties.
Its clusters of red berries begin to color in September, but they are barely noticed because of the abundant green foliage (without prickles). By October, the leaves have turned a golden yellow and the pairing of fall color and plump red berries is a cherished moment in the garden. For a month now, the twiggy canopy has been bare of leaves to reveal a mantle of hundreds, even thousands of exposed, eye-catching red berries.
If the plant is well placed, not crowded by others and given its own stage, it captures the low winter sun and just dazzles. On a larger property, I would place a mass of it at the far end of a lawn, ideally against a screen of mature evergreens to set off the berry display.
The winterberry is planted as an upright twiggy plant, but after a few years it spreads into an oval-shaped, multi-stemmed shrub. It has a tendency to sucker if let alone, but the artful gardener can cut away suckers and internal branches, and train the plant into a specimen with its lower and smooth brown-gray stems exposed and open. It gets about eight feet tall with a similar spread, so it needs some room.