Cannon, a graduate of the Stockbridge School at University of Massachusetts Amherst, is grateful that his father sent him to the well-regarded horticultural school. A soft spoken, cheerful man with a warm smile, Cannon says of his father, “People say I have a green thumb, but compared to him, I’m an amateur—he could root anything.” Tour groups, including local garden clubs, enjoy Cannon’s stories as he wanders down garden paths, bending low to pick up a tiny holly, pointing out sharp thorns on an ancient 15th-century variety, exclaiming over the bright beauty of a golden Japanese holly.
In the greenhouse his father built, Cannon tends to delicate holly cuttings when he is not outside in the elements caring for his treasured plantings, pampering such varieties as Ilex verticillata “Wintergold,” a spectacular holly with an abundance of peach-hued fruit in the fall and winter. In addition to cultivating, planting, and caring for the astonishing array of holly, Cannon has developed a niche market on the Cape for holiday wreath-making and seasonal green decorations. He shares helpful hints for using boxwood and holly to create wreaths that can last for months with proper care, explaining that the wreaths need to be outdoors, but should be kept out of full sun. He notes that holly wreaths require more care and misting than the boxwood designs.