With the exception of more than 50 native hollies, the majority of Ilex varieties from around the world were thought for years to be too tender to survive Cape Cod winters and, as a result, were seen rarely in landscape plantings. Cannon has chosen plants that are native to the mid-Atlantic as well as America’s southeast and grown them successfully here on the Cape for use in both residential and commercial installations.
Cannon has propagated three of his own hollies: “Gretchen”—named after his granddaughter and mother—“Purple Frost,” and “Kelsey’s Delight,” all of which are registered with the Holly Society of America. Cannon’s personal interest in Ilex has opened many doors over the years. He served as president of the Holly Society of America from 2007 to 2008 and is a longtime member of that organization and the esteemed Boston Horticultural Club, the oldest such club in the United States. Known as one of the most exclusive horticultural clubs in the country, members include some of the biggest names in New England’s green industry such as Paul Mahoney of Mahoney’s Garden Centers and Wayne Mezzit of Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton.