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Hollies for Gardeners

By Christopher Bailes

This new book, both far-reaching and scholarly, brings the rich and varied skeins of the genus Ilex into enviable order.


Richly enshrouded in legend and superstition, valued for a wide variety of uses and prized by gardeners, hollies have always been part of our lives and gardens. Now they are enjoying a peak of popularity as gardeners wake up to their huge diversity of form, foliage and fruit, marvel at their adaptability, and appreciate the wide variety of situations in which they can be used. There is a holly for every temperate region of the world, and Christopher Bailes celebrates American, European, Chinese and Japanese hollies in equal measure, providing detailed planting advice and illustrating his account with vivid photographs. This account will inspire gardeners everywhere to discover how hollies, old and new, can enhance our gardens and landscapes.

Media reviews

"A much-needed book for gardeners. ... This new book, both far-reaching and scholarly, brings the rich and varied skeins of the genus Ilex into enviable order."

—Louise Bendall, Plantsman

"For greater detail, grab this comprehensive, colorfully photographed guide to the hollies."

—Susan Smith-Durisek, Lexington Herald-Leader

"A classy, surprisingly entertaining guide to the astonishingly diverse world of hollies. There are master gardeners who'd love to get this as a gift. ... [One of] the 10 best books of the year."

—Steve Whysall, Winnipeg Free Press

"Packed with color photos, cultural information and possibilities for using hollies in the landscape."

—Valerie Easton, Seattle Times

"This guide to the history, lore, and growing of hollies is one that will be enjoyed year-round if it convinces you to plant even a single member of the holly species."

—Marianne Binetti, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"This book is a fine reference for professional and amateur gardeners. ... Bailes proves that there is a holly for every garden."

—Bill Cannon, Quincy Patriot Ledger

"What shines out, as much as the bright berries and glistening foliage of his photographs, is Chris Bailes's personal experience with hollies, his reading of the available literature, and his consultations with other experts in the field."

—Barbara Segall, International Dendrology Society Yearbook

About the author

Christopher Bailes

Christopher Bailes is Curator of the Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Rosemoor. For a long time his specialist subject was orchids: he wrote numerous papers and three books on the subject and was editor of The Orchid Review for four years. His present area of expertise is wide-ranging, covering ornamentals of all kinds, including perennials, woodland gardening, structural planting and Southern Hemisphere plants.

Read more about Christopher Bailes

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