Yes, hollies (Ilex) are excellent plants. The genus is large with many varieties to choose from, so you need to decide which characteristic is most important for your situation i.e. the overall shape and size, the foliage colour or shape, the berry colour etc.

For leaf colour, try ‘Handsworth Silver’, a dense columnar tree, with creamy margined leaves and bright red berries.

‘Madame Briot’ is very popular, with purplish stems and bright golden leaf margins, (we have a fine young specimen here at the National Botanic Garden of Wales), while ‘Lawsoniana’ has leaves with gold and light green centre splodges.

‘Bacciflava’ is female and has yellow berries, and the berries of ‘Amber’, as the name suggests, are amber-yellow and abundant. ‘Ferox ‘(the Hedgehog Holly) is a male plant with thick leathery leaves covered in spines.

If you fancy something with a completely different shaped leaf then how about Ilex x koehneana ‘Chestnut Leaf’, a female with large light green leaves, or Ilex crenata (Box-leaved holly) with glossy dark green leaves only 2-3 cms. Remember most hollies are either male or female. If you want berries then you will need both male and female or at least make sure there is one male tree in the vicinity. Have fun choosing!