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.
Click here for Holly of the Year's history...
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.
2011 Gene Eisenbeiss Holly of the Year
Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens'
Ilex x ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ chosen for 2011 is a magnificent holly that matures into a large tree at about 20 to 30 feet. It is a hybrid of Ilex cornuta and Ilex aquifolium and has existed for more than 100 years. The cross was made at the National Arboretum and was registered in 1969 by G.A. Van Lennep.
The leaves of “Nellie” are dark green and very glossy, Long and spiny. The branches are pendulous and the fruit are orange-red and ripen quite late.
One of the most popular tree hollies sold on the East Coast, ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ is hard to zone 6b.
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