Ilex ‘Lady Valerie’

Ilex ‘Lady Valerie’ originated as a sport of Ilex × altaclerensis ‘Golden King’. It was noticed, propagated and named by a founding IGPS committee member, nursery owner and plantsman, Dr Neil Murray. Neil named the plant for Lady Valerie Goulding as it was in the Goulding’s garden at Dargle Cottage, Co Wicklow the sport occurred.

This holly, with attractive variegation and undulation to the leaves, is a female so, along with the attractive leaves, some red berries will add to its winter spectacle.

However, as the sport that originated at Dargle Cottage had its name published at a later date than a similar sport from Ilex ‘Golden King’ in the town of Ripley in England, the latter has precedence. As a result, Ilex ‘Ripley Gold’ and its sister Irish sport are correctly named Ilex ‘Ripley Gold’. The rules of nomenclature do not, however, change the geographical history of the Dargle Cottage plant and propagations sourced from it are truly Irish. As gardeners, it is useful to know that holly cultivars with centrally blotched leaves have a tendency to revert to their original green leaved stems; these should be swiftly removed.

(As appeared in Newsletter 147, January 2020.  Text courtesy of Brendan Sayers and photo by Maeve Bell)