Jumpin' Holly Berries, Santa!

Our not really grumpy friend, the Grumpy Gardener (aka Steve Bender, at Southern Living magazine) just posted information about one of my favorite winter plants, deciduous holly (Ilex decidua), also known to us Ozarkers as possumhaw. It's that red-berried tree you see along the edges of woods, in fencerows and deeper in the woods. It's a tough tree, grows in a wide range of conditions (from swampy, deep soil in West-Central Missouri, to the rocky bluff edges along the White River in the Ozarks). The trees are male and female, the females having the berries and this is a great addition to the home landscape. To read lots more about this fascinating tree, check Grumpy's blog posting. We have a male and a female possumhaw out near the road, next to the Long Creek Herb Farm sign and the berries have been outstanding this season. Mom used to cut limbs for decorating indoors around the Holidays when I was growing up. It prompted me to go outdoors and take a few pictures of our possumhaw, too.

Even with the temperatures hovering around 17 degrees F. today, the Oregon grape holly is in full bloom. Just 3 days ago when the air was in the 60s, there were bees busily visiting the flowers. Little grape-ettes will form in summer and they can be turned into jelly.

There's hardly any snow, a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Here on the front walk to our front door you can see just enough white stuff to show where the walkway boards are. The Oregon holly doesn't mind the temperatures and will be in bloom for weeks.

In spite of the cold, the larkspur seedlings are up and doing just fine. These are from seed that fell out when I harvested the larkspur last June. They, too, aren't bothered by cold weather. I am, however. Florida sounds awfully good about now!

Barbara Young, Josh's delightful mother, is visiting us over the Holidays and we put her to work immediately, picking out pecans from the Osage River pecans I got recently. The nuts are already cracked and she's picking out the goodies for the freezer. We're so glad to have her visiting from Geneseo, NY, where they really know what cold is all about.

And what a treat! Our friend, Olee Jobe, sent us home with fresh tomatoes from his greenhouse crop. These are Jet Star, Better Boy and a special greenhouse variety. He's experimenting with the crop and has some amazingly large plants. Olee's been pollinating them with a paintbrush and you can see the results on our windowsill. He and his wife, Sharon, have Spring Fever Greenhouse in Ozark, MO. We had tomato sandwiches for lunch with a bowl of vegetable soup, just right for a cold wintery day.


www.wholelifegardening.com said...

When I see photos of Oregon Grape Holly it makes me green with envy... this is one of those plants that just isn't very happy on Cape Cod. You know...the type of plant that does OK and you think that all is fine and then you travel somewhere where the plant THRIVES and you want to rip it out of your garden as soon as you get home. Sigh.

Enjoy it for me, OK?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link and the pictures, specially its a delight to see Barbara in good spirit. Please convey my and Robert's best regards to her.

Puneet and Robert

compost in my shoe said...

you are always welcome to come warm up in Charleston, SC...had a 70 degree day today...quite nice for a December 16th...stay warm.....

Sharon Lovejoy said...

After seeing that adorable Barbara I understand where Josh got his GOOD looks!

Love the new arbor and benches leading to the house. You had your twig arbor when we visited you.

Love of the season,

Sharon Lovejoy

Anonymous said...

my mom and dad who were raised in western St. Clair Co. MO always called it Missouri Holly; never knew it by anything else! interesting.