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What is holly without ivy?

The holiday season is ongoing, and front doors all over Gloucester are decorated with wreaths of various sizes, shapes, and materials. We always go with a live evergreen wreath with a red velvet ribbon, and I’m happy with my door decoration, but what I really want is a combination that I can’t have: holly and ivy. Holly and ivy combine to complement each other perfectly, but the two species, commonly referred to as “English” are problematic in parts of North America, including Virginia.

English or common holly (Ilex aquifolium), a broadleaf evergreen, is native to Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. In the wild, it can reach 30 to 50 feet in height with a spread of 15 to 25 feet. English holly dislikes cold winters and hot, humid summers, so it wouldn’t be too happy in Coastal Virginia, but it thrives in the Pacific Northwest, where it is listed as invasive in Washington state. English holly is not listed on the Virginia Invasive Species Plant List, which is divided into Coasta...

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