Last Tuesday I trolled the parking lot at a home improvement super store. By the curb a lawn and garden sign advertised: CONTRACTOR’S SHRUBS. For less than $10 a pop you could walk away with some smallish evergreen bushes—it seemed like a good deal. But the buyer should beware.
A lot of these hollies and cypresses and boxwoods get stuck next to foundations and walkways and parking lots at new construction sites where you have to wonder if anyone is thinking ahead. For example, a Buford Holly (Ilex cornuta Bufordi) will grow up to be a small tree if you let it. I should know. Under my home’s front windows is a collection of decades old bufordis that have to be kept in check almost weekly from May through September.
The result are tiresome green lollipops that are forced to grow no more than five or six feet tall. If I gave up and let them go? They would each look like this specimen on Duke’s campus, probably planted outside the North Building in 1958 when the structure was newly built.
By the way- if you are interested, there are dwarf versions of Buford Hollies and other evergreen bushes out there.