Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Evergreens in the Garden, Part 1

I love evergreens.  When planning an area, I shoot for about 20% evergreens, although in some areas they make up over 50%, and in other areas only around 5%.  Evergreens give gardens winter interest, structure, backbone.  In the winter, you have something to look at, even if it's not blooming.

Walking around the garden, my heart is warmed by the many evergreens in my garden.  They are used in numerous ways, from hedges to accent plants, edgings and ground covers.

Here are the types of evergreens I am using as hedges, and how they function in my garden:

Euonymus japonica var. aureomarginata
After years of contemplating about what to plant in this area, I finally decided on several Golden Euonymus' to form a hedge around my air conditioning units.  They get quite tall and I can shear them off at the height I want them to grow.  They are drought tolerant and will grow in our clay soil.  They are a tough plant.  I like tough plants.  They make life easier.  Eventually I would like to place other plants in front of this hedge.  Still working on that design!

Rhaphiolepis indica 'Hines Darkleaf' aka Bay Breeze Dwarf Indian Hawthorn
 I love this plant!  Bay Breeze gets to about 3 ft. high x 3 ft. wide, blooms in spring, and has berries in winter. A great foundation plant, I have used it as a small hedge near my front doorway.  Unfortunately, it won't survive extreme winter cold (below 0 degree F), but if you're in the south, I would definitely recommend this plant.  Loves full sun.

Buxus Microphylla
I pick up all kinds of Boxwoods, so I'm not sure if these are 'Winter Gem', 'Wintergreen', or 'Green Gem'.  I think I've bought all those different types at one time or another.  I also have some just labeled "Japanese Boxwood".  There are numerous types of boxwoods, but not all will thrive in our heat.  I use them mostly in front of deciduous plantings.  They hide the naked legs of roses beautifully, and give structure to perennial beds.  They can be used beautifully for geometric plantings.

Ilex cornuta 'Bufordii Nana'
Since I've already sung Dwarf Buford Holly's praises here, I'll just move on.

Last year I planted a new hedge of hollies Ilex meserveae 'Castle Spires' and 'Castle Walls'.   They should grow to around 15 ft. tall, which will be perfect for the spot in which they're planted.  For now, though, they are small and almost forgotten.  Eventually they will form a wall of green.  A beautiful background for my main rose bed, and at the same time hiding the electrical box that is necessary but unsightly.  Plants are so useful!
"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show. " ~Andrew Wyeth

Celebrate winter - use evergreens.  Tomorrow we'll look at evergreen accent plants!


  1. I put a Golden Euonymous cutting that I rooted in my yellow rose bed to lend a bit of winter color.

    BTW, your request is 'in Process' at Blotanical. Changes are in the works and pending blogs are lined up. Don't lose heart.

  2. Neall Jean - Thanks for checking on Blotanical for me. It'll be a fun surprise when my blog shows up!

    I'd love to see pictures of your golden euonymous with your yellow roses. I'm dreaming of white roses in front of my hedge, but there's some other design issues there I'm going to have to work around.


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