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New hollies for Kew's Holly Walk

Tony Hall
15 February 2012
Blog team: 
The Arboretum team continue the improvements to Holly Walk, planting new trees to ensure its future as a 'world's best' avenue of mature hollies.

Looking after the Holly Walk

The Holly Walk at Kew has the largest number of mature holly cultivars in the world but in recent years some of the older specimens have started to go into decline. The main walk was given a bit of a makeover a few years ago, pruning some of the plants in an attempt to increase their vigour, decompacting the ground around them and giving them all a feed and mulch. This has already made a big difference but there were still gaps where we had lost a few trees over the years.

Visiting a holly nursery

Tony Kirkham (Head of the Arboretum), Susyn Andrews (a consultant horticulturist and taxonomist) and myself, Tony Hall, took a trip out to Highfield Hollies, a holly nursery in Hampshire, to choose some new plants for Kew's Holly Walk. We had a walk around the nursery, which has a very novel plant labelling system using recycled plastic bottles.


Several cultivars of interesting hollies were selected. We chose about a dozen new and interesting plants and labeled them up for collection, to be transplanted to Holly Walk at Kew a few days later


Trees on the move

The following week the Arboretum team headed off down to Highfield Hollies to collect the plants, which the team lifted from the nursery field.


Getting them back to the van was a tricky operation, having to negotiate a steep slippery slope! 


 The trees lined out next to their new home, ready for planting. 


With the planting mostly done, we still have a few more trees to select at a later date to complete the Holly Walk revamp. But meanwhile these young new plants take us a step closer to completing our planned improvements.

Newly planted trees. Just in time!

- Tony -


20 February 2012
The Holly Walk looks magical covered in Snow. One of my favourite places to visit in Kew :)
16 February 2012
Holly walk is also important for the holly blue butterfly. I like to think of it making full use of both the mature hollies there and all of the ivy that is close by.

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