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Holly of the Year 2006...

At an HSA Board of Trustees meeting in 2002, someone suggested that the Holly Society begin recommending a "holly of the year." It would be an ideal way to bring superlative hollies to the attention of the public and to introduce gardeners and nurserymen to the existance of the Holly Society of America. In naming the program, the board honored the late Gene Eisenbiess, a holly expert from the National Arboretum who had done so much over the years to help the Society.

The committee in charge of selecting the Gene Eisenbeiss Holly of the Year try to pick out hollies that are available at a wide range of nurseries, would be easy to grow, and would be hardy in a number of USDA Hardiness Zones.


2006 Gene Eisenbeiss Holly of the Year
Ilex × attenuata 'Sunny Foster'

Holly of the Year
Photo by Bill Cannon


Ilex × attenuata 'Sunny Foster' is the Gene Eisenbeiss Holly of the Year selection for 2006. It is an outstanding example of an I. × attenuata holly, a hybrid of I. cassine and I. opaca that was first described by Willard Ashe of Walton County, Florida, in 1924. 'Sunny Foster' is a leaf mutation of 'Foster No. 2' that was discovered by William Kosar at the National Arboretum. It was named and registered by Gene Eisenbeiss in 1982. The unusual foliage is narrow, about 1¾ inches (4.4 cm) long and ⅝ inch (1.6 cm) wide. If grown in full sun, the leaves are butter yellow. The plant is a female and bears bright red berries that contrast nicely with its yellow leaves. 'Sunny Foster' is slow growing and makes a good highlight plant. It normally grows in a pyramidal shape but can be used as an unusual topiary. Sprigs can be cut for bright leaves in wreaths and other holiday arrangements. This holly is hardy only to the warmest parts of USDA Hardiness Zone 6.

Holly of the Year

Photo by Linda Parsons



 

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