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.

 

Just Posted

Rocky Mountain Rogues get ready for Saratoga Cup

The Rogues will be looking to defend their championship title from Sept. 7-8 at the Saratoga Cup

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Black Press Kootenay Career Fair underway in Cranbrook

Today, Thursday, August 22, around 40 employers will be waiting to meet potential new employees

Artist Michael Hepher selected to paint mural downtown Fernie

The mural will be located on The Beanpod, 691 2 Ave, Fernie, on the outside wall.

UPDATED: Crews remain on scene of Jaffray hay barn fires

Emergency personnel remain on scene throughout Wednesday to put out hot spots

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town hit by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read