Japanese Holly ‘Blondie’
Japanese holly ‘Blondie’ is a female cultivar of ilex crenata, an appealing hedging species that is quite popular with gardeners today. Japanese holly is very comparable to the classic hedging species box. It makes a great alternative to box, as box is prone to the quickly spreading box blight. As a bonus, it is both tougher and hardier than box, which makes it ideal for the northern parts of the country, but also for polluted areas and other less ideal circumstances.
Planting and Maintaining Japanese Holly ‘Blondie’
Ilex crenata ‘Blondie’ is a quick-growing variety of Japanese holly, as it can grow 35-40cm a year. Despite its growth rate, Japanese holly ‘Blondie’ still makes a great topiary specimen due to its compact and densely branched growth habit and small, glossy deep green leaves. Japanese holly ‘Blondie’ will take any soil, including clay and lime, and prefers a position in sun or semi-shade. Full shade is tolerated, but is not beneficial. It is an evergreen that produces small white flowers in late spring that are followed by tiny black berries in autumn. Both are quite insignificant, but still a nice bonus. Trimming once or twice a year will help to keep it in shape, but more frequent trimmings are certainly not harmful.
Possibilities for Japanese Holly ‘Blondie’ Hedging
When left unpruned, Japanese holly ‘Blondie’ can reach a height of about 3.50 metres. This is remarkably tall for a species of Japanese holly and that is exactly why other cultivars, such as the ‘Green Hedge’ and the ‘Convexa’ are generally more suitable for topiary purposes. However, this also means that ‘Blondie’ is an incredibly versatile hedge. Its dense set of branches will keep any intruder, even rather small mammals, out of your garden and it can even grow tall and dense enough to make an excellent privacy hedge. And a neat one at that, because Japanese holly ‘Blondie’ responds very well to pruning and is therefore quite easy to keep in shape with one or two clippings a year. Especially because it grows in a more rectangular shape than most other varieties of ilex crenata.
Japanese Holly ‘Blondie’: Versatile and Undemanding
Japanese holly ‘Blondie’ is simply a remarkable hedge plant that transcends the reputation that the ilex crenata species usually has as the ideal alternative to box. Of course, this versatile and undemanding hedge plant can still be used instead of a low border hedge or a topiary specimen as well as any box shrub – or even better, as ‘Blondie’ is immune to box blight – but there is a wealth of other possibilities. This versatility definitely causes Japanese holly ‘Blondie’ to be a plant that deserves a place in any British garden.