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those of the Earl of Haddington, at Tyningham, and those at Collington House, and at Moredun, near Edinburgh. Some of these hedges are noticed in p. 103.
Properties and Uses. As a hedge plant, the holly makes the most impenetrable and the most durable of all vegetable fences; and it has this great advantage over deciduous-leaved trees and shrubs, that it is seldom liable to be attacked by insects; and, if shorn, the outer surface becomes impenetrable even to birds, who cannot build their nests in it. In these points of view, it is decidedly the best hedge, both for the farmer and the gardener ; but, if the faggot wood produced by the hedge is a greater object than the advantages just mentioned, which it is in some parts of England where fuel is scarce, the hawthorn is preferable to the holly, the latter producing but short annual shoots. The objection to the holly, as a hedge plant, is the slowness of its growth; but against this must be set its great durability and the other advantages which it possesses. Besides, by a little extra care in preparing the soil, the holly will make a complete fence as soon as the hawthorn does, under ordinary treatment. Mr. Sang, who may be quoted as the very first authority, observes, “ that holly hedges are the best for making durable fences, and afford the greatest degree of shelter, especially during the winter months. No plant endures the shears better than the holly. A hedge of it may be carried to a great height; and, consequently, it is well fitted for situations where strength and shelter are required. It luxuriates most in rich sandy loam, although there are few soils in which it will not grow. After planting, the holly makes but very indifferent progress for a few years; but, after it becomes established in the ground, or about the third or fourth year after planting, no fence whatever will outgrow the holly.” (Plant. Kal., p. 357.) When a holly hedge has once become effective as a fence, no other kind whatever can be kept in repair for so many years, at so small an expense. Baudrillart speaks of holly hedges, in France, that are upwards of two centuries old: those at Tyningham were planted about the latter end of the seventeenth century.
The wood of the holly is almost as white as ivory, except in the centre of very old trunks, where it is somewhat brown. It is very hard, with a fine grain, susceptible of a high degree of polish, and is readily stained with black, green, blue, or red. It weighs, when dry, at the rate of 47 lb. 7 oz. per cubic foot.
The veins of the wood, and its annual layers, are so small as scarcely to be perceptible. It is applied to a great many purposes, in joinery, cabinetmaking, and turnery; in engineering, in mathematical-instrument-making; and it is even used for wood engraving. It would be much more generally used in veneering, in Britain, if it were more common: but large trees are now comparatively rare; or, if they exist, they belong to persons who will not cut them down for their timber. One of the principal uses of the wood, at present, is, when dyed black, to be substituted for ebony, in the handles of metal teapots, &c.: the young shoots and the branches are given to sheep and deer, during winter, in France; and the stronger straight shoots, deprived of their bark, are made into whip handles and walkingsticks.
The bark affords birdlime. As this article may be useful to gardeners, not only for catching birds, but also for preventing snails, slugs, and caterpillars from ascending the stems of plants, we subjoin directions for its manufacture. “Peel a good quantity of the bark of the young shoots about midsummer; fill a vessel with it, and put to it spring water ; then boil it till the grey and white bark rises from the green, which will require near 12 hours boiling; then, taking it off the fire, separate the barks, the water being first drained off.
Then lay the green bark on the earth, in some cool vault or cellar, covering it with any sort of green and rank weeds, litter, or mats, to a good thickness. Thus let it continue near a fortnight, by which time, in consequence of fermentation, it will have become a perfect mucilage; then pound it all exceedingly well in a stone mortar, till it be a tough paste, and so very fine, that no part of the bark be discernible. This done, wash it accurately well in some
running stream of water, as long as you perceive the least impurities in it, and so reserve it in some earthen pot to ferment, scumming it as often as anything arises, for four or five days; and, when no more filth comes to the top, change it into a fresh earthen vessel
, and prepare it for use, thus :- Take what quantity you please of it, and, in an earthen pipkin, add a third part of capon's fat, or goose-grease, to it, well clarified, or oil of walnuts, which is better ; incorporate these on a gentle fire, continually stirring it till it be cold ; and thus your composition is finished.” (Hunter's Evelyn, p. 268.) The use of the grease or oil is, to prevent the preparation from freezing; and also to diminish evaporation when the birdlime is spread out on the barks of trees, or other surfaces, to attract birds or vermin. At present birulime is manufactured in but few parts of Britain, though in some parts of Cumberland and Westmoreland it is made in small quantities. It is made on a large scale in Italy, and also in Turkey; from which latter country it is imported into England for the use of London bird-catchers, and for other purposes. We recommend gardeners to try it on the stems of trees and shrubs, and on wires and lines stretched round flower-beds, as a protection against hares and rabbits.
Medicinally, a decoction of the bark is given for calming a cough. The berries are purgative, and six or eight of them will occasion violent vomiting ; though they are considered as poisonous to men, yet they form the food of some birds, more especially of thrushes. The bark`is mucilaginous, emollient, and solvent.
The principal use of the holly in Britain, after all, is as a hedge plant, and as an ornamental shrub, or low tree. In the latter capacity, it is surpassed by no evergreen whatever, whether we look on the plant in its native state, with its deep shining green leaves and coral berries, which remain on the tree for half the year; or in its numerous variegations of the gold or silver leaves, and white, yellow, or coral berries.
Mythological, legendary, and poetical Allusions. The use made of the holly at Christmas, for ornamenting churches and dwelling-houses, is well known; though the origin of the practice is uncertain. The custom of placing evergreens in places of religious worship prevailed before the introduction of Christianity; and several texts of Scripture, particularly in the 40th, 41st, 51st, and 55th chapters of Isaiah, and in the 8th chapter of Nehemiah, have reference to it: but the evergreens originally made use of were branches of the pine, fir, and cedar, and sprigs of box. Holly appears to have been first used for this purpose by the early Christians, at Rome; and was probably adopted for decorating the churches at Christmas, because holly was used in the great festival of the Saturnalia, which occurred about that period, and it was the policy of the early fathers of the church to assimilate the festivals of the Pagans and Christians as closely as possible in their outward forms, to avoid shocking unnecessarily the prejudices of newly made converts. It was customary among the ancient Romans to send boughs of holly, during the Saturnalia, as emblematical of good wishes, with the gifts they presented to their friends at that season; and the holly became thus to be considered as an emblem of peace and good-will. It was for this reason, independently of any wish to coneiliate the Pagans, well adapted to be an emblem of the principal festival of a religion which professes, more than any other, to preach peace and good-will to man. Whatever inay have been the origin of the practice, it appears to be of very great antiquity; for Bourne, in his Antiquities of the Common People, p. 173., cites an edict of the Council of Bracara, canon 73., forbidding Christians to begin to decorate their houses at Christmas with green boughs at the same time as the Pagans; the Saturnalia commencing about a week before Christmas. Dr. Chandler, in his Travels in Greece, supposes this custom to be derived from the Druids, who, he says, decorated dwelling-places with evergreens during winter, " that the sylvan spirits might repair to them, and remain unnipped with frost and cold winds, until a milder season had renewed the foliage of their darling abodes.” In England, perhaps the earliest record of this custom is in a carol in praise of the holly, written in the reign of
Henry VI., and preserved in the Harleian MS., No. 5396.; in illustration of which it must be observed, that the ivy, being dedicated to Bacchus, was used as a vintner's sign in winter, and hung outside the door.
Nay, Ivy, nay, it shall not be I wys;
Ivy stond without the dore'; she ys full sore a cold.
Ivy and hur maydenys they wepyn and they wryng.
Soʻmot they all hafe that wyth Ivy hold.
They foster the hunters, kepe hem from the doo.
Stowe, in his Survey of London, published in 1598, says that, in his time, every man's house, the parish churches, the corners of the streets, conduits, market crosses, &c., were decorated with holme (holly), ivy, and bayes, at Christmas. The disciples of Zoroaster believed that the sun never shadows the holly tree; and the followers of that philosopher who still remain in Persia and India, are said to throw water impregnated with holly bark in the face of a child newly born. In the language of flowers, the holly signifies foresight. A great number of curious carols, and other verses, ancient and modern, referring to the use of the holly at Christmas, will be found in Forster's Perennial Calendar, p. 727.; and an elegant poem by Southey, alluding to the circumstance of the lower leaves of large plants being spinous, while the upper are entire, is printed in Dr. Johnston's Flora of Berwick upon Tweed, vol. i. p. 40.
Soil and Situation. The holly attains the largest size in a rich sandy loam ; but it will grow, and even thrive, on almost any soil, provided it is not overcharged with moisture. Cook says, it does best on soil somewhat gravelly; Miller, that it prospers on gravel over chalk ; and Boutcher, that it refuses not almost any sort of barren ground, hot or cold, and often indicates where coals are to be found; a proof that it will grow both on lime and clay: in short, the holly is found on all soils, except in bogs or marshes. The forest of Needwood, which contains so many fine hollies, is on a free loamy soil, inclining to sand rather than to stiff clay; the largest hollies in the New Forest are on gravelly soil, on a substratum of chalk or clay. The largest hollies in Buckinghamshire, Kent, and Surrey, are in loam on chalk; the hollies at Tyningham are on deep alluvial sand; those in Aberdeenshire, on granitic clay. The holly does not grow at very great elevations in Europe; and it is always found in a most prosperous state when somewhat shaded by deciduous trees, but not overtopped by them. The most favourable situation seems to be a thin scattered wood of oaks, in the intervals of which, as at Needwood and New Forest, the holly grows up, at once sheltered, and partially shaded. At the same time, the holly will grow completely beneath the shade and drip of other trees; for which reason it is equalled as undergrowth by no other evergreen shrub or tree, except the box. The common laurel will also grow under the drip and shade of other trees; but it is more tender than either the box or the holly, and soon becomes naked below.
Propagation and Culture. In the days of Evelyn, it was customary for planters to collect seedlings of trees of different sorts from the woods; and this was more especially the case with the holly, on account of the length of time the seed lies in the ground before it comes up.
“Of this noble tree,” Evelyn says, “one may take thousands of young plants, four inches long, out of the woods (growing amongst the fallen leaves), and so plant them; but this should be before the cattle begin to crop them, especially sheep, who are greedy of them when tender. Stick them into the ground, in a moist season, in spring, or early in autumn, especially in the spring; shaded (if it prove too hot and searching) till they begin to shoot of themselves, and, in very sharp weather, and during our eastern etesians, covered with dry straw or haulme; and if any one of them seem to perish, cut it close, and you shall soon see it revive. Of these seedlings, and by this culture, I have raised plants and hedges, full 4 ft. high, in four years. The lustier and bigger the sets are, the better; and, if you can procure such as are a thumb's breadth thick, they will soon furnish into an hedge.” (Hunter's Evelyn, p. 266.) Seedlings of holly, yew, and other indigenous trees, are still collected occasionally from the woods in country places, by the children of labourers, and sold to the local nurserymen; but the more general practice is, to raise the species from seeds, and the varieties by budding, grafting, or by cuttings.
By Seeds. As the seeds of the holly, like those of the hawthorn, do not come up the first year, to save ground, and the expense of weeding, the berries are commonly buried in the soil, or kept mixed up in a heap of earth for one year : this heap of earth, into which the berries are put as soon as gathered, should be turned over several times in the course of the season, to facilitate the rotting of the pulp and husks. This will generally be effected by the autumn succeeding that in which they were gathered from the tree; and they may then be taken, and separated from the earth with which they were mixed, by sifting, and sown in beds of finely prepared soil, and covered about a quarter of an inch. Thus prepared, when sown in autumn, they will come up the June following. A covering of half-rotten leaves, fronds of fern or spruce fir, or even of litter or straw, placed over the seed-beds, will protect the soil from extreme heat and drought, and will greatly facilitate the progress of the germination. In Scotland and in Ireland, this is seldom found necessary; but in England and in France, the climate being warmer in the beginning of summer, and the air drier, it is found a great advantage. As the holly is apt to suffer from transplanting, it should never be kept in the nursery longer than two years in one place. When the seeds are to be sown as soon as gathered, Boutcher directs that the berries should hang on the trees till December; or, if they could be defended from birds, till February or March. As soon as they are gathered, he says, “throw them into a tub with water, and rub them between your hands till the seeds are divested of their thick glutinous covering ; pour off the water, with the light seeds that swim, the mucilage, &c., and spread the sound seeds on a cloth, in a dry airy place, rubbing them often, and giving them a fresh cloth daily till they are quite dry. If this be done in autumn or winter, mix them with sand, and keep them dry till spring; but, if they have been gathered in spring, let them be sown immediately." (Mart. Mill.) Bradley suggests a method of forwarding the germination of the seeds of the holly, and other hard seeds, by fermenting them with moist bran; but the difficulty of keeping the temperature such as, while it decomposes the pulp of the berries, shall not destroy their vital principle, seems to render this a very precarious process.
Budding and Grafting. These operations are performed at the usual times, and in the usual manner ; but it has been observed by Tschoudi, that cleftgrafting does not succeed nearly so well with the holly as whip-grafting or budding. In England, the stocks budded or grafted on are generally of four or five years' growth; and the grafting is effected in March, and the budding in July
Cuttings. These are made in autumn, of the ripened summer shoots. They are planted in sandy soil, in a shady border, and covered with bandglasses; and they generally put forth roots the following spring. The lower branches of the common holly, in Ireland, we are informed, strike as readily by cuttings as those of the common willow, emitting roots from every part of the shoot, as well as from the joints. This facility of rooting in Ireland may be owing to the moisture of the climate of that country; experience proving that the branches of trees and shrubs which are grown nearest the ground, or on the north side of the plant, so as to be kept shaded and moist, always root
easier than those which have been taken from higher parts of the tree, and more exposed to the influence of light and air; the moisture and the shade being the predisposing causes for the production of roots.
After-culture in the Nursery. No plant requires less care than the holly, when it is once established : the species can hardly be said even to need pruning; and the varieties which have been grafted or budded require little inore than the removal of shoots from the stock. To fit them for removal, however, whether of a large or small size, they ought to be taken up and replanted every other year.
Final Planting. When the holly is to be planted as a hedge, if it is intended that the growth shall be rapid, the soil ought to be trenched to the depth of 3 ft. or 4 ft. If the subsoil be bad, the most effective mode is to take out a trench, in the direction of the hedge, of 3 ft. or 4 ft. wide, and of the same depth; and to fill up this trench with good surfaces from the adjoining ground. The soil in the trench ought to be raised at least a foot above the adjoining surface, to allow for sinking; and along the middle of this ridge, the hollies might be planted at 1 ft. or 18 in. apart. In some cases, the seeds may be sown on such a ridge; but that mode involves the expense of fencing for a greater number of years than the mode by transplanting. By some, the best mode of planting a holly hedge is said to be, to intermix it with the common thorn, and, as the hollies advance, to.cut the thorns out. This may be a convenient mode; but it must be evidently a very slow and uncertain one, and must depend so much upon the constant attention paid, to keep the thorns from overpowering the hollies, and, at the same time, to keep their branches sufficiently intermingled with each other to render the fencc effective, that we can by no means recommend it as an eligible practice.
Season for transplanting the Holly. Much has been written in gardening books respecting the proper season for transplanting evergreens; and what is remarkable is, that, while summer and autumn are generally stated to be the proper seasons, the spring, and during mild weather in winter, are the seasons most generally adopted in practice. The principle which justifies the practice is, that all plants whatever, with very few exceptions, are most safely removed when the whole plant is in a comparatively dormant state, and when the weather is temperate, and the air moist and still, rather than dry and in motion. Now, it is known that the greatest degree of torpidity in any plant exists a short time before it begins to grow or push out shoots; consequently, as evergreens begin to grow only a week or two later than deciduous trees of the same climate, the proper time for transplanting them cannot differ much from the proper time for transplanting deciduous trees. The chief difference to be attended to is, the circumstance of evergreen trees being at no time whatever in so completely a dormant state as leciduous ones; and hence, such weather, in the winter, autumn, or spring, must be chosen for removing them, as will least affect their fibrous roots and leaves by evaporation. This is in perfect accordance with the practice of the best gardeners; and it has been laid down as the best mode, founded on experience, by Mr. M‘Nab, the intelligent curator of the Edinburgh Botanic Garden, and author of a valuable pamphlet, entitled Hints on the Planting and general Treatment of Hardy Evergreens, fc., of which an account will be found in the Gardener's Magazine, vol. vii. p. 78.
Culture of the Holly in useful and ornamental Plantations. Holly hedges, according to Miller, should never be clipped, because, when the leaves are cut through the middle, they are rendered unsightly; and the shoots should therefore be cut with a knife close to a leaf. There can be no doubt that this is the most suitable mode for hedges that are to be near the eye: for example, in gardens and pleasure-grounds; but, as this method leaves a rougher exterior surface, and involves a much greater expense, than clipping, it is unsuitable where the object is to prevent birds from building in the hedges, and to maintain effective fences at the least expense. The proper season for clipping would appear to be just after the leaves have attained maturity; because