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Holehird Gardens in December - 3 things to look out for when you visit:
- The Holly Bed next to the viewpoint displays an array of contrasting colours in both leaf and berry. Ilex aquifolium 'Alaska (f)' has the classic red berry, while its larger neighbour Ilex aquifolium 'Bacciflava' bears a yellow berry. Both contrast with nearby Ilex mesereae 'Blue Prince' which has no berries but does feature a wonderfully glossy, spiky, purplish-green foliage. As the picture above shows, this is also a great place from which to admire the view to the hills.
- The Walled Garden in winter has a very different feel to its vibrant summer offering, but there are still pockets of interest if you look closely. Berries again draw the eye on the prominent Cotoneaster frigidus. Less immediately obvious is the neighbouring island bed which features a lovely globe of Buxus variegata surrounded by yellow Euphorbia oblongata and several varieties of origanum. The same bed also contains deep red Sedum 'Matrona' and Rudbeckia fulgida var.deamii (black-eyed Susan), both of whose dramatic seedheads will be left to provide winter interest.
- On the Fell Border, the National Collection of polystichum ferns continues to provide interest throughout the winter. These soft-shield ferns are wintergreen so this year's fronds only die back after next year's have appeared. In the main fern border planting is in raised banks, mimicking the conditions in which they grow in the wild. Look out for polystichum x dycei, easy to identify by its gold label highlighting it as one of the plants chosen by the Holehird volunteers to feature in our 50th anniversary publication, "Gardeners' Choice: 50 favourites from Holehird Gardens".