Time for holly to bear fruit: Dream Gardens with Alan Titchmarsh


Trained holly trees in pots, pruned into standards or small topiary shapes, are great by the front door. And if you have room for a holly bush in the garden you can grow your own festive foliage for decorations.

There are lots of varieties. When berries are your main consideration buy a known quantity as some varieties do not “berry up” reliably. Ilex aquifolium Pyramidalis or JC van Tol are the best bet for the classic combination of red berries and deep green prickly leaves.

Both are self-fertile and have berries without a mate to cross-pollinate and they grow into neat pyramidal bushes that very slowly turn into trees. They will not outgrow a small garden because, like all hollies, they are slow-growing and cutting Christmas foliage will act like annual pruning.

For variegated foliage and regular heavy crops of berries, one of the most spectacular varieties is “Silver…


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