Images from around Highfield Farm

The Highfield Collection - National Plant Collection Status

We are very happy to announce that, as of the 24th November 2017, our collection is recognised as a National Plant Collection for genus Ilex by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens.


The first recorded collection at Highfield was that planted by the noted Victorian botanist James Sykes Gamble when he retired here in 1899. Unfortunately few of his original planting survive (the copse of Black Locust Trees in our woodland was probably planted by him) but our plantings of species Rhododendron are a tribute to his particular interest in Himalayan flora.

Our collection has evolved from the specialist Holly nursery we started in 1992. The core of the collection is a wide range of species and hybrid Ilex, interspersed with tree specimens including Rhododendron, Liquidambar and Quercus.

In addition to the illustrative pictures in the catalogue below, a good selection of professional photographs can be found at GAP Photos.


The catalogue entries are illustrated with small 'thumbnail' pictures. To see any picture blown up, click on it.

X ALTACLERENSIS - The 'Highclere Hollies'
The result of a cross between Ilex aquifolium and I. perado. They usually make large shrubs or small to medium-sized trees of vigorous growth with large handsome leaves. Very good in industrial and seaside conditions.
Large, handsome evenly-spined leaves, glossy and dark. Green stems. Male.
A very hardy, vigorous medium-sized tree with broadly ovate shiny green leaves. Free fruiting.
Dark glossy leaves, only a few spines and with abundant orange-red fruit. Female. c 1874.
Belgica Aurea

Known as 'Silver Sentinel'. Gold-edged leaves with few spines and abundant large orange-red fruit. This will make a beautiful tree. Female. c 1908.

Beautiful purple-green leaves, almost spineless, and large red berries. Female. c 1865.
Golden King

A sport of 'Hendersonii' Gold-edged spineless leaves, good red berries - a great favourite. Female. c 1884.
A vigorous female holly with dull green leaves and abundant reddish-brown berries, c early 1800's.

A strong and vigorous holly with purple stems and dark green round and oval leaves. Male. c 1800.
Dark green glossy leaves with a narrow creamy-white border. A vigorous grower with red berries. A sport from 'Hendersonii'. Female. c 1800.
James G. Esson
Dark green, glossy, broadly ovate leaves, purple-green stems. Vivid red fruit. Vigorous rapid growth. Female.
A strong-growing green stemmed clone with glowing green almost spineless leaves. 1952 Male.

Large centrally gold and green splashed leaves. Reverting shoots must be removed. Good red berries. Female. c 1894.
A vigorous holly with large leaves and reddish-purple stems and bold, regular spines. Male. 1898.
A male clone with large dark green oval leaves which are slightly concave. A lovely holly named after Mr. Mundy of Shipley Hall, Derby. c 1898. m.
Purple Shaft

A striking, fast growing cultivar with strong dark purple shoots and abundant fruit. Makes a fine specimen tree. Female. c 1964.
Ripley Gold

A recently introduced sport of 'Golden King'. The young stems are bright pink and the young leaves are beautifully shaded green, yellow and gold. The leaves have a marked twist to them and are very compact. Female. c 1980.
Compact, dome-shaped clone with green stems and large, evenly spined prominently veined leaves. Large scarlet fruit. Female. c 1899.
W.J. Bean
Compact holly with large spiny dark green leaves and bright red fruit. Female. c 1920.
The Common Holly, seen growing naturally in our woods and hedgerows, the female trees carrying the red berries associated with Christmas. There are numerous cultivars with variously shaped and coloured leaves, different habits and coloured fruit. They usually make either large shrubs or small trees and are strongly resistant to industrial conditions. Many are excellent for hedge making.

A green, very hardy holly with smaller compact leaves and an abundance of bright red berries. Good for clipping and growing in containers. Female. c 1960.

Smooth dark green leaves and lovely apricot berries. Grows to a natural pyramidal form. Female. c 1950.

Very small slender spined leaves, making a neat pyramid or spire. Very compact with purple stems. Good for containers. Male and Female. c 1838.
Argentea Marginata

A handsome fruiting holly with green stems and green silver marginated leaves. Will make a good bush, tree or hedging plant. Female. c 1770.
Argentea Marginata Pendula
Known as 'Perry's Silver Weeping'. In time it forms a beautiful silver weeping dome with masses of bright red berries. Female. c 1859.
Dark green spiny leaves. Male c 1960.

A very attractive green stemmed clone. Dark green leaves edged with old-gold margins. Scarlet berries. Female.
'Bacciflava' also known as 'Fructo Luteo'
Shiny dark green almost spineless leaves, with bright heavy-cropping yellow fruit. Female. c 1775.
Small lanceolate green leaves edged with white, sometimes mottled and pinkish. Unusually small leaves for a female aquifolium. Small bright red berries.
Very slow growing with dull green like leaves. Cultivated since the mid 1700's. Female.
The green leaves are strongly twisted, showing their pale green undersides along the edges. Male. c 1854.
Crispa Aureopicta
Green leaves with a central gold splash. Tends to revert, but otherwise a charming addition to a holly collection. Male.
A handsome silver leafed holly which grows into a beautiful and stately tree. Male c 1863.

The Hedgehog Holly. The green leaves are puckered and the top surface covered in short spines. Slow growing and the oldest recorded cultivar holly. Early 1600's. Male.
Ferox Argentea

As above, but the spiny leaves edged silver. Slow growing and very attractive. Male. c 1662.
Ferox Aurea
Although known since 1750's, we offer a new more golden Ferox, very attractive and very slow growing. Male.

The 'moonlight holly'. Softly shaded leaves in yellow green and gold. Best in a sunny position. Female. c 1854.
Purple stems and small shining green ovate leaves, evenly spined. Male. c 1863.
Frogmore Silver
Small green leaves edged with silver. A very pretty little holly.
Gold Flash

Green stems and leaves with a gold central splash. A sport of 'J.C. van Tol'. Female. c 1978.
Golden Milkboy

Large dark green flat leaves with a very strong shining golden splash in the centres. The most golden of all the hollies. Male.
Golden van Tol
A handsome sport of 'J.C. van Tol', with clear-cut gold marginated leaves. Self-pollinating, with large red berries. c 1900
Golden Queen
Broad spiny leaves shaded pale green and grey with a wide gold margin. Male.
Grandis - see Silver Queen
'Green Pillar' Erect form of narrow habit with upright branches and dark green large spiny leaves. Good berrying and excellent specimen or screening tree and suitable for tubs. Female c 1971.
Handsworth New Silver

Attractive purple stems with longer silver edged leaves. Will make a handsome tree or hedging plant. Good red berries. Female. c 1850.

Narrow green leaves with short spines and red fruit. A neat and dainty holly with an attractive upright habit. Female. c 1978.
Narrow dark green shiny leaves, very like l. 'Angustifolia' and with the same fastigiate habit. Useful accent plants. Male. c. 1860's.
Very unusual small rounded tipped leaves with two spines at the base. Slow growing with purple shoots. Male. c 1863.
Green leaves dusted with silver. Pink blush on new growth. Male. c 1875.
J.C. van Tol

Superb dark green shining leaves, almost spineless with huge crops of bright red berries. Self-pollinating. c 1895.
A curious form making a low spreading bush. Long, narrow twisted leaves with irregular spines and prominent pale green midrib. Female. c 1880.
Purple stems and ovate green leaves which twist and turn with a few irregularly placed slender spines. A fascinating holly for the collector. Female. c 1845.
Laurifolia Aurea
Small, narrow green leaves edged with a thin band of gold. Male.
Madame Briot

A handsome holly with purple stems and very large spiny leaves, green and mottled and marginated in yellow and gold. Female. c 1866.
Maderensis Variegata
An interesting and attractive clone with reddish-purple stems and yellow and green shading on the almost entire leaves. Male.
A medium sized tree growing here for many years, it has variable attractive slightly curled dark green leaves and long branches of bright red fruit. Female.
A cultivar of dense habit with bright green stems and broad, viciously spined curled and twisting leaves. Very unusual. Male c 1854.
Myrtifolia Aureomaculata

A compact holly with small, evenly spined dark green leaves, which have pale green shading and an irregular splash of gold. Male. AGM 1984.
A slow-growing cultivar with purple shoots. The small dark green leaves are shallowly scalloped along the margin. Male.
Ovata Aurea

A slow-growing clone with short spined leaves marginated gold, which contrast beautifully with the deep purple twigs. One of the brightest and neatest of the variegated hollies. Male. c 1874.
A beautiful deep green weeping holly with wonderful clusters of large bright red fruit. Female. c 1842.
A handsome green tree with very abundant red fruit and almost spineless leaves. A natural pyramidal form. Self-pollinating. c 1885.
Pyramidalis Aurea Marginata
A strong growing green stemmed clone. The leaves are a deep shining green with an irregular but strongly marked golden margin. Good red berries. Female.
Pyramidalis Fructeo Luteo
Similar to 'Pyramidalis' in habit, but with large clusters of bright yellow fruit. Female. c 1950.
A densely-growing clone with purple twigs and strongly spined dark green recurved leaves. Male.
Rubricaulis Aurea

A lovely holly with smaller flat oval dark green leaves edged with gold. The stems are pink and the leaves flush crimson in winter frosts. Red berries. Female. c 1867.
Thick, leathery deep green leaves which are spineless and slightly twisted, with a cup-shaped depression below the apex. Female.
Siberia® = 'Limsii'
A beautiful new aquifolium from Holland. Found growing as a seedling by an old hedge and now cultivated on a large scale. Dark green leaves edged in the pale green from the underside, purple stems and abundant berries. Female.
Silver Lining

A seedling found here in 1993. Dark green leaves very narrowly edged with silver. This changes to crimson/red in winter. Small bright red berries. Female.
Silver Milkmaid

Small curved green leaves with a central white splash. Slow growing and with large red berries. Very pretty. Female.
Silver Queen
The shoots are blackish purple when young and the leaves broadly ovate, green, faintly marbled grey and bordered creamy white. New leaves shrimp pink. Male. c 1863.
Silver van Tol
A sport of 'J.C. van Tol'. It has creamy white leaf margins and abundant red fruit. Female. c 1977.
(Waterer's Gold) Slow-growing compact shrub with yellow-striped green stems. The small leaves are mottled yellow-green and grey with an irregular yellow margin. Male.
Weeping Golden Milkmaid
Purple stems, dark green spiny leaves with bright gold central splash. Makes a very pretty weeping bush. Bright red berries carried in profusion. Female.
Green Pillar
Erect form of narrow habit with upright branches and dark green large spiny leaves. Good berrying and excellent specimen or screening tree. Female. c 1971.
Sunny Foster
A slow-growing cultivar with narrow spiny golden leaves, and small bright red berries. Makes a very attractive winter statement in a sunny position. AM 1989.
AQUIPERNYI - '(aquifolium x pernyi)'
Dragon Lady® = 'Meschick'

This unusual holly grows as a narrow spire of small almost black five-spined leaves. With large clusters of small bright berries it makes a very striking plant. Good for containers. Female.
San Jose
Dark olive green leaves ovate 1½" - 2" long and with a narrow pale green edge. Compact unusual holly with lovely red berries. c 1940's.
A large shrub closely related to l. aquifolium but with narrower, less undulate and spiny leaves. Introduced by Sir Harold Hillier from N. Turkey, Caucasus.
CORNUTA - '(The Chinese or Horned Holly)'
Glossy green leaves with creamy white berries. It has a ground-hugging habit and is very slow growing. Female.
Large shining dark green leaves and large bright red berries. Female.
Ira Nelson
Large dark olive green shiny leaves, some as large as 4", with light green edges. An exciting holly with bright red berries. Female. c 1957.
O. Spring
Subtle shaded leaves in soft greens and yellows with a bright gold splash in summer. Female.
A dwarf form with compact, rounded habit and strongly spined oblong leaves. Female.
Leaves dark green elliptic oblong. Vivid red fruits. Dense broad habit. c 1960's.
Dr Kassab
Small dark green leaves irregularly spined with a dense habit. Green stems and red berries, very unusual. Female. 1948.

Dark green five spined leaves forming a strong mound. Red berries. A very dramatic holly. Female.
Good Taste
Almost square, dark olive green leaves and bright red berries. Very compact.
Indian Chief
Small dark olive green triangular leaves and red berries. Pyramidial form.
John T. Morris
The male equivalent of 'Lydia Morris' q.v.
Lydia Morris

Slightly larger dark green leaves, red berries and growing in a large mound. Both this and 'Drace' are vandal-proof! Female.
'Mary Nell' (cornuta 'Burfordii' x pernyi) x latifolia)

Grows as a bush or small tree with very dark green evenly spined shiny leaves. Female.
The 'Japanese or Box-Leaf Holly'. This group of hollies have small almost spineless leaves in various sizes and shapes. The females have shiny black or yellow berries. These small and interesting hollies are useful for low hedges, miniature plantings, bonsai and cloud pruning. We have a collection of crenata cultivars on display and provide plants for hedging and some open ground specimens for clipping into cloud trees.
Braddock Heights
Leaves dark green 2-3cm long. Upright spreading habit. From Maryland, U.S.A. Female.
Cape Fear
Leaves dark green, stems brownish on top. Broadly upright habit. Male.
Carolina Upright
Leaves glossy dark green. Upright pyramidal habit. Male.
Coles Hardy
Upright pyramidal habit. Very hardy. 1950's.
Leaves moderate green, convex. Upright spreading habit. A very popular landscape plant. Female.
Dark green leaves, black fruits, with a strong upright growth. A very useful garden plant. Female.
Leaves dark green 0.5-2cm long. Compact, broadly rounded habit. Considered to be one of the most cold hardy clones. Male. 1958.
Golden Gem
Leaves bright yellow, slightly convex to flat, lower leaves blotchy yellow to green. Dense habit, similar to 'Convexa' and reported to be very hardy. Female.1971.
Green Island
Leaves dark green, oval. Low, spreading habit and vigorous. I. 1935.
Green Lustre
Leaves medium green. Low, compact dwarf habit with a vigorous growth rate. c 1935.
Leaves dark green. Dwarf dense mounding habit to lm, usually twice as wide as tall. Popular dwarf landscaping plant. Female. c 1930's.
Leaves dark green, convex. Upright spreading habit. Hardy to zone 6a, popular landscape plant. Female. c 1940.
Ivory Hall
Leaves light green. Fruits yellow to greenish yellow. Original plant 43cm tall and 71cm wide in 9 years. Female 1965.
Ivory Tower
Leaves light green. Fruits greenish yellow. Vigorous broadly erect habit. Female 1972.
Crenata var. latifolia
Leaves light green with a marked pale centre rib. Vigorous upright large shrub or small tree.
Lancasters Gold
Small golden leaves, convex. Small, slow, ground-hugging plant. Black fruits. Very pretty.
Leaves dark green, stiff, thick, ovate, 3-16mm long and wide. Fruits black and abundant. Interesting rock garden plant. Female.
Leaves dark green and glossy. Very low growing compact habit, slow. Male. 1965.
Leaves dark green. Upright habit, single to multiple stems. Leaves grow very densely and close together. Flowers fragrant. Male. 1955.
Prides Tiny
A seedling of 'Green Lustre' 1970's. Compact, low habit. Female
Leaves softly variegated green with white edges. Fruit black. A very attractive plant.
Leaves mid green, 1-1.5cm dwarf compact habit. Very cold hardy. I. 1951.
Leaves dark green, slightly glossy. Young branches dark purple, changing to greyish green. Upright habit. 1960's.
Wiesmoor Silber
Leaves attractively variegated with grey-green, green and yellowish-white, convex. Slow growing, very pretty. 1975. Fruits black.
A small shrub with very pretty dark green tiny spiny leaves.
Somerset Pixie
Mid green very spiny small leaves and small red berries. Female.
X KOEHNEANA - '(I. aquifolium x I. latifolia)'
Chestnut Leaf

A small upright tree with terracotta fruit and large long leathery evenly spined leaves. Female.
This magnificent species will make, in this country, a small tree or large shrub up to 7m. Leaves nearly equal in size to those of Magnolia grandiflora, dark glossy green, leathery, oblong with serrated margins. Needs a sheltered position. Orange-red fruits. Japan, China. Introduced 1840.
X MESERVEAE - '(I. aquifolium x I. rugosa)'
The Blue Hollies
Blue Angel®
Crisp dark green to purple leaves with soft spines and good berries. Compact habit. Female. 1963.
Blue Prince®
Dark green soft spined leaves. Very free-flowering and a good pollinator. Male. 1964.
Blue Princess®

Dark green leaves and very abundant bright red berries. Female. 1958.
Nelson West
Leaves mid olive-green, narrow-elliptic and deeply spined. Male.
PERADO - '(Susp. platyphylla var. platyphylla)'
The 'Canary Island Holly'. Handsome and unusual form making a small tree, with large dark green leathery leaves and red fruits. Female.
A very slow-growing dense holly. It has small, triangular spiny leaves and bright red fruit. Discovered in China in 1858 by the Abbé Perny.
A dwarf, prostrate shrub, forming a low, dense mound. A very unusual holly and interesting as one of the parents together with l. aquifolium of the 'Blue Hollies'.
A rare, small to medium sized shrub of dense, upright habit. Leathery, glossy, elliptic leaves and red fruit which develop singly in the leaf axils of the current year's growth.
X WANDOENSIS - '(I. integra x I. cornuta)'
A natural hybrid from Korea, the pale undersides of the leaves shine through the top to create a golden glow. Good red berries. A very unusual form. Female. Introduced 1980.