One of the country’s largest holly tree collections can be found at Rutgers Gardens in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Begun as an evaluation of varieties in the 1950’s, this group of trees became the jumping off point for Dr. Elwin Orton’s American Holly (Ilex opaca) breeding program. He worked for over half a century breeding ornamental trees for the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, up until he retired and became Professor Emeritus in 2008.
The original planting, together with a number of Dr. Orton’s recent selections (including ‘Dan Fenton,’ ‘Jersey Princess,’ ‘Jersey Delight,’ and ‘Jersey Knight’), compose one of the largest collections of American Hollies in the United States.
Adjacent to the Holly collection is the Holly House (see photo). The Holly House serves as the headquarters for the Garden Club of New Jersey. It also serves as the site for a number of continuing professional education classes, tours, and talks using a variety of unusual plant materials in a comfortable garden setting.
If you are looking to explore a different and unusual collection of native evergreens, this collection should certainly be on your list to visit. Located at: 112 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.