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The Holly Bears the Crown

July 10, 2011

Chris, while I have watched, has spend the last several weekends building a raised bed to hide the footings of our deck. He finished it last weekend, and this weekend we bought a ton of dirt and filled it in. Then Chris planted some herbs along the front of the deck, and, where there was a perfect place for an ornamental tree, we put a possumhaw holly.

Sounds simple, right?


“A perfect place for an ornamental tree.”  Heh. That’s a challenge.

We’ve been going back and forth on what to put in that place since we bought the house. When we moved in, there was a bushy bush with a growth habit neither Chris nor I found attractive, but Iwaited until spring, to see if it would put forth enough of a show to make it worth it. Nope. Small blossoms that had a bad smell. Out it came, and we burned the stump and began in earnest, figuring out what to replace it with, which is why we, and by “we” I mean “Chris,” built the retaining wall and raised bed: to put the tree in and quell erosion.

We talked about Japanese maples, but the location gets too much sun. A peach then? But do we want rotting peaches all over our deck? A crabapple? Too big and bushy. A crepe myrtle? Silence. Chris says that crepe myrtles are “not his favorite.” A weeping cherry? Not pretty enough in the winter to have right by the deck. One tree was decreed too tall and narrow, another too horizontal, a third too boring. It’s this management philosophy that we have in our marriage: never compromise, because then no one is happy. Keep working until you find a solution that makes everyone happy.

It makes the people around us crazy, when we have a problem in need of a solution, we worry at it like two dogs sharing the same bone.

Last week, talking about another place in the yard, Chris said, “What about those hollies that lose their leaves in the winter and then their bare branches are covered with red berries?”

“OH!” I said. “That would be the perfect tree to put over by the deck! Yay you!”

This afternoon we went down to Redenta’s, which is the closest great nursery to us, to pick up a possumhaw holly. We looked around, and all the trees we saw were beautiful Japanese maples, when suddenly, a helpful saleswoman approached!

“Can I help you?”

“Well, we’re here to buy a tree.” We were in the middle of the Japanese maple section.

“Tell me about your location?”

“It gets a lot of sun. It’s right by our deck.”

“Well then you can’t put in a Japanese maple. It’s too bad you weren’t here last weekend. It was our big plant sale — 50% off of everything. We’re very low on trees.” Her face lit up. “There is one tree, though. It’s called a possumhaw holly…” and I said, “That’s exactly the tree we came here to buy!”

I’m so excited. I can’t wait until winter, well, for a lot of reasons, but also because I know it’s going to look terrific.

It was also totally cheap.


From → Garden

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