Ilex verticillata: I Am Not Getting You a Boyfriend


Ilex Dear Ilex,

I know–you’re a woman, and you have needs.  It’s not your fault that you’re planted in alley and can’t go catting around to the bars in search of a one-night stand.  You’re stuck back there behind the chicken coop, and there’s not a man for miles around, as you’ve so brutally pointed out by refusing to produce berries, which is after all the whole POINT of a winterberry.  Even your name, ‘Afterglow,’ suggests that you’re–well, how shall we put it?–up for a little action.

Brad_pitt But I will not have that boyfriend of yours hanging around my back yard.  As White Flower Farm points out, this non-berry-producing ‘Jim Dandy’ fellow is best tucked "in an out-of-the-way corner," as if I have room for shamefaced lurkers in my garden.  And I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but his heart will never belong to you.  Amos Pettingill told me so himself.  " ‘Jim Dandy’ blooms early and serves as a male pollinator for several female varieties of Winterberry, including ‘Afterglow’ and ‘Red Sprite’."

See that? The last thing I want is a whole gaggle of ‘Red Sprites’ hanging around the alley trying to  get Jim’s attention.  My life is complicated enough as it is.  No, dear, you’re just going to have to find a way to be productive–shall we say "fruitful"?–without a man.  Come on, we fought a feminist revolution over this.  Don’t let a little biology hold you back.  It’s time for the sisters to start doing it for themselves!


  1. I dunno, Amy. There’s insufficient guilt here about forcing your poor ilex to live half a life.

    And if you do decide to get the guy in the photo for the ilex, would you send me one, too?

  2. Neutered cats live longer if they’re indoors — are you bringing your “neutered” ilex in the house too? 🙂

    Overeager newbie that I am, I bought a “Southern Gentleman” for the three “Winter Red” sisters I plunked in the ground last fall (two of the lady seedlings were unfortunately stomped flat by neighborhood kids on an expedition behind the garage).

    Now Mr. Gentleman is making flower buds at one of the Misses Red, while the other two lean delicately against their bamboo escorts, so maybe we’ll have some autumn progeny here after all.

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