GOLDEN GIRL ® is probably the first ever patented holly with yellow berries in the world, US plant patent 7652 from 1990, as a cross between ilex aquifolium ´Fructa Lutea´and ilex rugosa . Yellow fruits are an awesome feature because it never happened with any other blue holly before. And it has at least two more attractive features to be sought after for: gorgeous leaves and excellent hardiness.Glossy leaves of this variety are deep emerald green, and in this case without the bluish shade so typical for other blue hollies. While hybridizing this cross the yellow colour desired for berries gained the upper hand of the dark blue-green shades, so the leaves show a very warm shade of green thanks to the presence of yellow in it. The oblong leaves are medium sized (abt. 4x2 cm), with a few soft, quite harmless spines. Branches are yellow-green, too. This plant is female so it needs a male variety nearby, in an area of maximum a couple of kilometers where the bees can carry the pollen, so it can produce berries. Obviously, the best is to have a male plant in the same garden. Ideal pollinators are Blue Prince® or Casanova.
Meserveae hollies are called blue hollies thanks to the shade of the species leaves that are dark green with bluish tint. And the name meserveae was chosen for its cultivator, Kathleen Meserve, who, literally on her windowsill, made a cross of ilex rugosa and ilex aquifolium, in 1950´s to achieve excellent cold hardiness on a fabulously foliaged evergreen plant. She died in 1999 at the age of 93 but left behind an impressive line of these evergreen superbly hardy varieties.
Blue hollies need almost no maintenance if you provide them with slightly acidic soil at the beginning and enough moisture for the first couple of years to enable establishing extensive root system. They are beautiful and trouble-free dense shrubs with no defoliated twigs even without pruning. They grow moderately fast and make dense foliage in the lower parts while they push new branches upwards. This feature is employed when using this holly into a hedge.
Another huge advantage is its above mentioned hardiness. It can stand very low temperatures without any damage: it is supposed to survive -34°C and thrive in USDA zone 5, perhaps 4 with protection. This fact makes blue hollies the most sought after evergreen plants in our climate.
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