Weed Warrior: Some tastier alternatives to the invader- English Holly

English Holly, an invasive shrub with poisonous red berries, is on the loose in the southwest corner of B.C., spread by birds dropping berry seeds everywhere, and it is out-competing native vegetation in both deciduous and conifer forests.

Let’s not invite English Holly into our region.

Instead, the Invasive Species council of B.C. Grow-me-Instead booklet, available at: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/0e63db_145ac626193a4bae8bb9a17d37867583.pdf recommends some non-invasive alternatives.

Holly-leafed Osmanthus, with its five-coloured variegated leaves, is a shrub that greatplantpicks.org says will really brighten up shady corners of your garden.

Oregon grape has shrub or Mahonia groundcover varieties that thespruce.com recommends for pollinator gardens- where Oregon Grape will help attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

The berries can be collected for jams, jellies or preserves. The website also says it can clone itself and spread.

So, if you have strict boundaries, Oregon grape may not be for you.

Crabapples are a favourite at our place, for both May pollinators and Fall and Winter fruit harvesters.

At New Year’s, flocks of Bohemian Waxwings gather in our front yard to enjoy the fermented fruit that our pink-flowered Ornamental Crabapple produces.

Having access to a juicer, in September, we can process the golf ball sized fruit from our white-flowered Crabapple tree and party along with the birds.

Someone we know, who has creative mixology talents, treats us to taste-bud tingling refreshments, on occasion.

The website www.cbc.ca https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/5-things-to-do-with-crabapples-1.1859353 describes five other ways you can enhance your home food supply with jellies, bread pudding, pickles, pectin and Tarte Tatin, made using crabapples.

According to gardenerspath.com, Elderberry shrubs are another fruit-bearing garden favourite, attracting butterflies and bees in the spring and migrating birds in the fall.

If you want pungent bitter tasting Elderberries, containing lots of seeds, gardenerspath.com suggests European Red or Lemon Lace varieties that produce red fruit. Otherwise, they recommend Adams, Black Beauty, Black Lace, Blue or high-yield York Elderberry bushes that all have tastier black fruit.

The website also says if you plant more than one of the Elderberry varieties, cross-pollination leads to greater berry production. If you and or your spouse like to wine a lot, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjSZxaYVuw4

If you must have a Holly bush, the website www.gardeningknowhow.com describes Meserve Holly. a hybrid that offers non-invasive shrub varieties, like Blue Angel, Blue Boy, Blue Girl and cold-hardier Blue Prince and Blue Princess.

If you are intrigued by the Grow-me-Insteads in this article, check out the websites above, and your favourite garden center for more information on how best to enhance your garden while protecting nature.

Weed Warrior Frank

Above: English Holly. Below: Meserve Holly, Elderberry, Holly-leafed Osmanthus.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

Cranbrook Bucks sign first player to team

The Key City’s newest hockey franchise has begun to take shape as… Continue reading

Columbia Valley RCMP searching for missing Invermere woman

Police believe Belinda Eugene may be hitch hiking to the Kamloops area

Final preparations, practicing at WFP ahead of BC Curling Championships

Western Financial Place was a hive of activity on Monday, Jan. 27… Continue reading

Columbia Basin Trust shuffles board, new leaders at the table

The Trust is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors

Health Foundation hits $1 million mark of $1.2 million fundraiser

The East Kootenay Foundation for Health has $200K more to go to purchase SPECT CT machine

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

Most Read