Daphne Odora ‘Aureomarginata’
Whilst perennials are dying back and the garden seems more spacious, it is time good to consider planting evergreen shrubs.
Some favourites are:
Daphne Odora with its tiny but fragrant flowers which appear in winter and early spring. Variety ‘Auremarginata’ has a compact habit and glossy, yellow edged leaves. It is a perfect small evergreen shrub for the garden and grows well in sun, partial shade and woodland gardens.
Camellias originating from the woodlands of Asia, are popular for their glossy green foliage and for their sumptuous flowers. Naturally they are large shrubs, but there are dwarf varieties available. These elegant shrubs are ideal for mixed planting schemes, as specimen shrubs in borders and woodland gardens with partial or dappled shade. They need an acid soil, so ericaceous compost mixed with a soil-based compost such as John Innes No. 3 would be ideal.
Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’
Euonymus fortunei are versatile, low-maintenance shrubs. They are tolerant of poor soils, coastal conditions and shade. Euonymus plants can be grown as evergreen ground cover or trained to climb a wall, and tolerate north-facing walls. They will grow as hedges or free standing shrubs in borders and containers. Euonymus fortunei cultivars are great for adding winter colour to the garden.
Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’
Photinia is a tough, versatile shrub. The most popular variety is Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin,’ whose leaves change between green and red. Photinia grow well in sunny borders, as specimen shrubs in large patio containers, or as hedging with little pruning required. Photinia ‘Little Red Robin’ is a dwarf cultivar, which is also very popular.
Holly, which is a well-known evergreen shrub can either be spiny or smooth. It is best known for its classic dark green leaves and red berries at Christmas, but there are many variegated forms to choose from. It can be used as a specimen plant in the garden or as part of a mixed border. Holly also makes a good dense hedge – Ilex aquifolium is a good species to use for this. The red berries are a good source of food for birds during winter. Holly is tolerant of harsh conditions and is very low maintenance.
Mahonia plants have an architectural form with spiny leaves, similar to holly. Their late winter and early spring flowers are bright yellow, highly fragrant and offer a striking display when most of the garden is still dormant. These are then followed by deep blue berries. They cope well with coastal conditions, clay soils and heavy shade. Mahonia looks great in shrub borders and woodland gardens.