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David Beaulieu

Put 'Sky Pencil' in the Winners' Column!

By May 7, 2012

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There are certain plants that only a gardener could love -- and only a subset of gardeners, at that. You know the kind I mean: mousy plants that elite gardeners fuss over, but which do not excite the general public.

picture of sky pencil holly shrubThen there are plants that stand up to be counted, exercising a fascination over gardeners and non-gardeners alike. Some turn heads due to their colorful flowers; others garner attention through their striking forms.

Sky Pencil holly (Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil') resides in the latter camp. It is one of those rare shrubs with an exaggeratedly columnar form. This evergreen makes an architectural statement just by showing up. More importantly, there are tons of landscape design uses for a columnar evergreen shrub that is relatively compact and that retains its shape with a minimal amount of maintenance from you. 'Sky Pencil' holly is a winner in my book.

Read article: 'Sky Pencil' Holly

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Photo ©2010 David Beaulieu (licensed to About, Inc.)


May 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm
(1) Lynn says:

I planted three of these last year on the west (front) side of my house last spring. I had heard that they can’t take that kind super hot sun, but two of them lived! I replaced the third one with a much smaller specimen, so now my landscape is lopsided. Anything that lives through a north Texas summer against a brick wall in full sun is a winner in my book. Your mileage may vary.

May 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm
(2) landscaping says:

Thanks for your report from Texas, Lynn. My landscaping location is a far cry from Texas (MA), but I do grow my Sky Pencil holly on a south-facing wall.

May 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm
(3) Chris says:

We planted our in a stone wall planter against our house. We live in northern VA and have yet to see how they hold up int he winter, but so far they look amazing. Still deciding if we should add some low flowers to spruce in some color.

May 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm
(4) landscaping says:

Cool idea, Chris. Thanks for the Sky Pencil holly report from northern VA!

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