|If you insist on growing rhododendrons, at least choose pretty ones!|
The cinnamon colored indumentum on this R. 'Teddy bear'
leaf complements the tones of the 'Heuchera Creme brulee'.
Firstly let’s dispel the myth that evergreen plants are boring, offering only dark green leathery leaves with an elliptical or tapered shape. If privet, laurel and boxwood tend to immediately spring to mind think again. Want bright foliage? Try ‘Sundance’ Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata). This will sparkle in sun or partial shade although it is best protected from a hot western exposure. Glossy yellow leaves, fragrant flowers in spring and fall (a good friend of mine insists they smell of cat piss – I think he needs to see an ENT specialist…) and a nice compact shape to about 4’ which can easily be trimmed make this a five star broadleaf evergreen. There are plenty of yellow variegated shrubs too, such as wintercreeper 'Emerald and gold' (Euonymus fortunei), variegated silverberry (Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata'), variegated false holly (Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki'), variegated boxwood and variegated holly if you want just a little sparkle rather than the full floodlight effect.
|Heather 'Wickwar flame' |
(Calluna vulgaris) in winter color
|The finely textured box|
honeysuckle provides a soft
backdrop for the hellebores.
|Pieris 'Forest Flame' bears its fragrant|
white flowers at the same time as
the colorful new growth bursts forth
For fragrance there are lots of options from andromeda (Pieris cultivars (including several variegated forms)) with their lily of the valley fragrance, winter daphne (Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’), sweet box (Sarcoccoca species) and leucothoe which is available in several colorful cultivars including 'Scarletta' and 'Rainbow'. Andromeda also has outstanding color in the new spring growth; typically a bright coral-red which can be emphasized by underplanting with the similarly colored Heuchera 'Peach flambe'
Problems and prevention
|The bold evergreen leaves of the Japanese|
aralia form a striking combination with the
Japanese forest grass.
Photo credit; Alyson Ross-Markley
Special precautions can be taken to protect plants during the winter. Anti-desiccant compounds such as Wilt-Pruf are sold in garden centers and online and many gardeners have found them helpful.