Cliff & Betty Dickinson Holly Garden

The Cliff and Betty Dickinson Holly Garden contains a wide variety of American native hollies and non-native hollies that can be grown in this region.

Hollies can be used for foundation plantings, screenings, hedges, accent plants, mass plantings or specimen trees. The Holly Family (Aquifoliaceae) contains more than 400 species of trees and shrubs that are from small to medium in size.

Worldwide, the holly genus (Ilex) contains both deciduous and evergreen plants, which have simple alternating leaves that range from smooth to spiny. These slow-growing plants grow well in rich, moist, acidic soil.

Early in the development of the Arboretum, Cliff and Betty Dickinson volunteered their talents. They owned a holly nursery, Hollydale in Hendersonville, NC. There they grew more than 50 varieties of hollies. Most of the hollies that are in this garden were donations from Hollydale.

Mr. Dickinson was an organic chemist for DuPont Company for 30 years before he retired to North Carolina. While a volunteer at the Arboretum he developed the Integrated Pest Management Program, and consulted with the Horticulture staff on plant selection, pruning techniques and general care. Mr. Dickinson was the President of the Holly Society of America at the time of his death in 1995. 

Mrs. Dickinson, also a chemist, was an active community volunteer working with the Girl Scouts of America as well as the Arboretum and the local Unitarian church. Both served in various leadership capacities for the Holly Society of America.