by Charlene Burgi
Last week we talked about evergreen trees, poinsettias and Christmas cactus, but I failed to mention holly. Holly is a plant that thrives in the same hydrozone as azaleas, rhododendrons, ferns and camellias. They prefer the cool shady area of the garden with good drainage and moderate water. Many varieties of holly require a “mate” to assure berries that are prized during the winter months.
Holly is not the only plant that provides winter berries. There are many plants that can supply us with red berries. Before planting, check with the California Invasive Plant Council as many are invasive and could add hours of weeding to your garden chores.
If you are interested in a native beauty with berries, look into Heteromeles arbutifolia, commonly known as toyon. This evergreen shrub has white blossoms in the spring and produces a wonderful spray of red berries in the winter.
Bare root plants will be coming into the nurseries this month. Take an inventory of nooks and crannies that need filling in your garden; replace poor producing fruit trees with new bare root varieties; replace spent strawberries; add asparagus, rhubarb, grapes and berries; and think about planting a beautiful deciduous shade tree to protect the house from summer glare and heat for energy efficiency.
Decide where you will place the new plants for water compatibility with the irrigation system in your garden. Will they need the same amount of water as the other plants in the area? Or will you be required to install another irrigation valve so the plant doesn’t drown or die of thirst?
Upcoming Events for Landscape Professionals
Mark your calendar for January 25. We have a great workshop in the works to include installation of graywater and rainwater systems in your clients’ homes, benefits of using compost tea, and more. The workshop will be 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. at College of Marin – Indian Valley Campus. More details to come.
The Bay-Friendly Landscape Maintenance Training & Qualification program is filling up fast. The classes start February 2. To register, please call Gina Purin of MCSTOPPP at (415) 499-3202. This series of classes is only offered once a year, so don’t miss this opportunity. Click here to download the brochure.