New to NC - Holly Springs

lat4005(7b)August 13, 2010


I am so thrilled to have come across this forum! We recently moved from IN to NC and I am so lost on gardening. I have never really had a huge garden or anything but the previous owners of the home we purchased gave u a good start so I am attempting gardening for real now. :)

I am not sure what to plant. They have about 20-25 holly trees/bushes and I can't say I am thrilled about having that many on a 1/3 of an acre. Do these transplant if I wanted to give any away?

They were obviously fans of bushes and green type plants as there are not a lot of flowering ones that I have found except for in on spot in the yard. I however, am the opposite. Love the flowering plants. Want to add to and change out some of the existing plants. I just hate to kill plants off! If they can be transplanted I want to do so. Just not sure what exactly some are and the best way to go about finding these things out.

I know one is a boxwood and of course lots of holly trees. There is another I keep calling a Hawthorne but not sure that is really what it is.

There are also several prickly type shrubs/bushes and I am not a huge fan of those either. The only reason I want to keep some of the holly ones is for the birds to have the berries in the winter. Although I am petrified of my toddlers trying to eat the berries. Any suggestions? I'm not even sure where to start with it all.

I know logically I should wait and see what all blooms over the next year but I am too impatient! I want to plant something. I would really love to plant a cutting garden and some raised plant beds for veggies next year.

Oh, on raised beds, any suggestions on the best way to start those? I have gone back and forth of removing the grass or "smothering" it. I have everything to do a small raised bed right now but just can't decide which is the best way to go. I also need to look into an irrigation company coming out to redo some sprinkler heads and such.

So much to do and I don't really know the best place to start! New gardener in need of help please! :)

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Tammy Kennedy

There have been several similar threads started in the past few years. Search the forums and you should find tons of great info.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 8:54AM
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1. Burn the boxwoods. This is a most unimaginative plant for the SE.
2. Prickly plants may just be briars-relatives to wild rasberries that are a nuisance.
3. Places you want to plant will likely require organic amendments to the soil.
4. Plan your work-map out what you want, where; cut down the things you don't want. Holly requires digging out the roots. In the winter, dig the holes for next spring.
5. Flowering shrubs-probably Crape Myrtles are popular. Rhododendruns can gow if there's afternoon shade. Try Camellia japonica for winter blooms.
6. Try a couple of Rosemary bushes in the hottest, dryest part of the yard. They're hardy to near 0ºF.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 6:25PM
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Hi, I'm in Holly Springs, too, moved here about 6 years ago. I have a lot of drought tolerant stuff, and you are welcome to come over and talk plants! Email me at:

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 8:53PM
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I think hollies are great but only in certain locations. I prefer to walk around barefoot and even though hollies are evergreen they do shed their leaves and those little spines hurt - so I limit my use of hollies and try to keep them far away from where I walk. About the berries being bird food - yes they might be a food source if our winters were colder, but you'll notice the berries stay on the trees for most of the winter. That means they are the last thing the birds choose to eat - only after they've eaten every other berry in the neighborhood will they come back for hollies. So, plant them if you want that Christmas-ey look during the winter but don't keep them just because the literature says they are a primary wildlife food (maybe in the mountains but not here on the Piedmont).

The Hawthornes are probably Indian Hawthorne or Raphiolepis. Tough as nails and blooms kinda pretty in the spring. They are worth having around since you do nothing to take care of them.

We have swaps in Raleigh twice a year (the fall swap is next month - see the details in the Exchange subforum here) where you can get all the free starts or seedlings you will ever want.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 9:55AM
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So one of my neighbors told me the other bush I wasn't sure the name of (I kept calling it Hawthrone) is a type of holly. So needless to say I have no removed 2 of them. I seriously have at least 30 different holly bushes/trees in my yard if not more. Does anyone else think that is kind of overkill? And I'm getting tired of getting stuck with the leaves. So why am I feeling so bad about taking them out? Should I?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:50PM
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You see Hawthorne's and Hollies planted together since they are both evergreens and pretty easy to take care of but they are not related.

Even small hollies can be a pain to dig out - you have to dig them out, otherwise they will resprout from the stump. I would dig them out when I have a replacement bush otherwise you will just have an empty yard full of holes while you wait.

There are many types of hollies so if someone wanted to fill their yard with a collection of them... I could see where they easily could. There is also the false holly Osmanthus from asia - worth growing for the fragrance when they bloom.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 3:45PM
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