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Centennial Girl Holly
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Centennial Girl Holly brings a touch of Christmas cheer to your landscape all year-round! Shaped like a Christmas Tree and decked out in lustrous, dark green Holly Leaves, it paints a
festive picture at any season. Of course, it shines the brightest in fall and winter, when the plump red berries adorn the branches. The berries persist for a long time—until songbirds finally feast on them in late winter or early spring. Use Centennial Girl in your mixed beds and borders to add an important vertical element. One tree planted at each corner of your house will frame your home in style.
In the early 1950s, an amateur gardener in Long Island named Kathleen Meserve attended a garden club talk on Holly Trees. It was a momentous occasion in horticulture. You see, Mrs. Meserve loved the stately English Holly Tree, but English Holly isn’t reliably cold-hardy in the northeastern states. So, she set out to breed her own hardy hybrid Hollies, armed with only a fifth-grade knowledge of botany and a paintbrush (to transfer the pollen from one flower to another). It was a rousing success. Kathleen Meserve introduced dozens of wonderful new hardy Hollies to the world. In the case of Centennial Girl, she crossed English Holly with a Chinese Holly, and the resulting plant was hardy to -20ºF. She patented it in 1997.
Centennial Girl Holly naturally forms a dense pyramid. If a highly formal look is what you’re after, you can easily prune this tree to give it a perfectly symmetrical shape. Be sure to leave some branches to trim in winter for holiday displays!
How to Grow
Although Centennial Girl likes to act tough, it does appreciate a bit of kindness. Plant it in good, rich, slightly acidic, freely draining garden soil in a location that doesn’t get baking afternoon sun. Not too much shade though! The foliage won’t grow as densely as it should if it doesn’t receive enough light. Protection from frosty winter winds is a good idea, too. Water regularly and mulch to keep the soil moist but not wet. To ensure that your Centennial Girl sets abundant fruit, a suitable male Holly must be nearby. Blue Prince® Holly is the usual recommendation; Blue Stallion® will most likely happily oblige as well.
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