At an HSA Board of Trustees meeting in 2002, someone suggested that the Holly Society begin recommending a "holly of the year." It would be an ideal way to bring superlative hollies to the attention of the public and to introduce gardeners and nurserymen to the existance of the Holly Society of America. In naming the program, the board honored the late Gene Eisenbiess, a holly expert from the National Arboretum who had done so much over the years to help the Society.
The committee in charge of selecting the Gene Eisenbeiss Holly of the Year try to pick out hollies that are available at a wide range of nurseries, would be easy to grow, and would be hardy in a number of USDA Hardiness Zones.
2007 Gene Eisenbeiss Holly of the Year
The 2007 selection for the Gene Eisenbeiss Holly of the Year was Ilex aquifolium 'Lewis'. It was discovered in the town of Delight,
Maryland, by Stewart McLean and introduced into the trade
about 1967. A female, 'Lewis' is one of the best English hollies available.
Its leaves are spiny, dark green, and glossy. Its large red berries
are freely produced.
'Lewis' is a fast growing cultivar that is hardy into USDA Hardiness Zone 6B. It grows
to a pyramidal shape with little pruning and will reach a height of 30ö40 ft
(9.1ö12.1 m) when mature. Any male English or hybrid holly that flowers at
the same time can be used as a pollinator. 'Lewis' can be used as a specimen
plant, in a windbreak or tall hedge, or for cut Christmas greens.
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