Japanese 'Soft Touch' Holly - Ilex crenata 'Soft Touch' - Planted in Back Beds - November 2023
The fun of evergreens as part of my Fall Planting Sprint comes to an end today with three Japanese 'Soft Touch' Holly. Named Ilex crenata 'Soft Touch' - these are a little different than most of the Hollys that I've become familiar with over the years. The name is the big tell - they're not full of sharp points. I came across a few of these 'larger-than-one-gallon' nursery pots on a bench at the Orange big box store and quickly whipped out my phone. Here's what the foliage looks like before planting:
Soft Touch Japanese Holly is a dense, mounded, evergreen shrub with a moderate growth rate. Unlike its parent, it will reach a relatively short height of 3 feet and has soft-textured leaves without the sharp spines typically found on Japanese Holly. Soft Touch Japanese Holly glossy green leaves also have an interesting silver mid-vein. It works well planted in borders, as an accent, or along walkways. Black ornamental berries persist throughout winter for cool season interest.They're evergreen.
That's the total package.
These three shrubs - knock wood - will help set the tone back there for even more planting. One of the first steps is to get those hostas out of there and moved around.
I planted these in mid-October, but posting it in early November 2023.
I've run the full 2023 'evergreen' total and it is a remarkable 36.
7 evergreen trees
5 dwarf conifer shrubs
3 Japanese holly shrubs.
Hard to believe, but I'm hoping that I've begun to correct my evergreen deficiency just a little bit.
My 2023 Fall Planting List - so far - includes a number of new and divided plants.
Now up to 49 new plants. 3 new via division. 7 Trees. 52 total for 2023 #FallPlanting. 21 of them are groundcover plants. Five sedums.
- Five divided Everillo Sedges - Carex Everillo - from one sedge with Center rot in the backyard.
- A Sempervivum ‘Hopewell’ - a succulent-looking Chicks and Hens planted down by the sidewalk - IB2DWs.
- Two Sedum spurium 'Voodoo' - IB2DWs - to attempt to outcompete the Creeping Jenny.
- Split three Elijah Blue Fescue clumps into six - IB2DWs along the driveway.
- A single Burgundy Glow Ajuga along the driveway IB2DWs. Lots of groundcover IB2DWs, this Fall.
- Eight Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' planted - five in the island bed. Three along south front porch bed border.
- A Cardoon - IB2DWs - that I'm not sure is going to make it. I'm going to mulch it in VERY heavily this Winter.
- Two Silver Mound Artemisias planted IB2DWs - close to the current planted bed.
- A dwarf, fern-like shrub: Matcha Ball Ash Leaf Spirea planted in the front porch bed.
- Three Pentsemon 'Midnight Masquerade' dark foliage perennials planted in the new/extended IB2DWs bed.
- Two Stachys monieri 'Hummelo' plants, in the front yard by the Sweetspire.
- Three Greenlee Moor Grasses - Sesleria Greenlee Hybrid in front of the Sweetspire shrubs in front.
- A dwarf conifer: Baby Blue Spruce - planted IB2DWs extended down by the sidewalk.
- Two John Creech Sedums - planted by the Little Henry Sweetspires. Hoping to cover and outcompete the weeds that creep up in this border.
- Three Ruby Muhlygrasses - Planted at the end of the boardwalk in back.
- A #1 Bird's Nest Spruce planted IB2DWs by the Nepeta Cat's Pajamas, near the driveway.
- A ball-and-burlap Weeping Norway Spruce in the middle of the established IB2DWs bed.
- A second Norway Weeping Spruce Tree - IB2DWs in the new 'Conifer Garden'.
- A narrow, upright conifer tree - Montrose Charm White Spruce in the 'Conifer Garden' IB2DWs.
- The 2nd Baby Blue Spruce tree planted IB2DWs in the new 'Conifer Garden' closer to the Bald Cypress.
- A 3rd Baby Blue Spruce tree planted in back by the Lindens - viewable from the Kitchen.
- I'm calling it a tree (not a shrub) - a Royal Purple Smoke Tree planted IB2Dws.
- A true dwarf - Golden Mop False Cypress - planted IB2DWs in the Conifer Garden.
- One of Two Blue Star Junipers - Planted in back stoop north bed with Spring Grove Ginkgo.
- The second Blue Star Juniper that is planted by the Disneyland Roses on the south side.
- The second (new) Bird's Nest Spruce planted in the new Conifer Garden IB2DWs.
- Three small Green Velvet Boxwoods planted in between the espalier'd Dogwoods along the garage.
- Three small Japanese 'Soft Touch' Holly shrubs planted back by the Weeping Nootka Cypress bed.