This variegated holly is full of glossy berries in the Winter Garden.
Reaching 14m in height, the common holly (Ilex aquifolium) is one of 400 species belonging to the Aquifoliaceae (holly family). The genus occurs throughout temperate, tropical and sub-tropical zones, and contains climbers, epiphytes, shrubs and trees. The leaves of most members of the genus are alternate, and are usually thick and leathery, with a crenate or entire leaf, which is often spined. The most familiar species is I. aquifolium which is a native of Europe, including the British Isles. It is often seen as a hedgerow species, where it provides shelter, and serves as a valuable food source for birds, bees, butterflies and moths. I. aquifolium has long been grown as a garden plant, and has given rise to a range of attractive cultivars, including ‘Argentea Marginata’, whose glossy foliage is edged with a silver margin, in striking contrast to the clusters of brilliant red berries.