Yesterday Bosswoman and myself were admiring this holly tree and she commented on how many fruit remained, usually by this time of the year it is looking a little bereft. This could be due to the mild weather ensuring there is still plenty food around for the birds and also that the blackbirds hadn’t arrived yet. In our garden the blackbirds are seasonal visitors, probably migrating from Scandinavia or perhaps from some more northerly area of the UK (we all know its grim up north). They are also champion fruit eaters. This morning as I arrived at work I was greeted by a plucky female blackbird and later met her beau who appeared at the bird table. So I thought that perhaps it was time to take a picture of the heavily laden tree before the fruit had met their fate and filled the belly of some Norwegian blackbird (I thought they were all blonde).
This holly is Ilex x altaclarenis “Golden King” which is a little confusing as it is a female plant. It is a cross between I. aquifolium and I. perado and is an extremely tolerant plant. They are ideal specimens for the diverse challenges of both city pollution and coastal salt and exposure and make very good windbreaks. Ilex are what is known as dioecious, coming from the Greek for two households, this means that plants are either male or female. This means that in order to produce the splendid scarlet fruit a male plant needs to be in the vicinity and bees or other insects will transfer the pollen to the female. Another triumph for the bees.