A New Love – The Holm Oak

We’re just back from a week’s holiday in the Ardeche where I discovered a new love, the holm oak.

I’ve encountered the holm oak before, I drive past a magnificent specimen each week on the way to my daughters’ ballet class. A solitary tree it stands sentinel over a fork in the road.

Nearer to home there is a very different example. This shrubby version forms a dense part of a natural screen separating a green from the road.

I’m also aware of Lawrence Johnstone’s use of the holm oak at Hidcote. Johnstone’s substituted holm oaks for the olives that would never have survived the cold at Hidcote. I’ve only visited Hidcote once and wasn’t convinced by the holm oaks but a week in the Ardeche may have changed my mind.

A previous holiday on the Cote D’Azur inspired me to create a Mediterranean scented garden on the patio at AV Acres. Like Johnstone the local climate limits my planting choices. The patio is north facing so many sun lovers would not survive. I’m wondering if the holm oak is the answer.