Evergreen shrubs form the backbone of the garden. They provide structure and colour even in the depths of winter when other plants are dormant and bare.
Evergreens offer more than just foliage. Many have attractive flowers such as Rhododendron and Camellia. In fact some even flower during the coldest months, perfuming the cold air with a delicious scent. E.g Sarcococca . Other evergreens provide fruits that are both ornamental and useful as a food source for local wildlife. E.g Holly, Cotoneaster, Pyracantha.
In summer they create a useful backdrop that will set your flowering perennials off to their best advantage. But don’t be fooled by the term ‘evergreen’ – some have brightly coloured variegated foliage that makes them really stand out from the crowd! E.g Euonynous fortunei/ japonicus cultivars, Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’, Aucuba etc.
From low growing Box hedges to large specimen Camellia’s, there’s an evergreen to suit every garden.
Box and Yew make superb formal evergreens that are perfect creating topiary sculptures, dense formal hedging, parterres, mazes etc – no stately home is complete without them! While Fatsia japonica and Aucuba provide exotic foliage for tropical themed gardens. Pittosporum, Hebe, Viburnum tinus, Lavender and Rosemary are the stalwarts of the Cottage garden.
Evergreens make fabulous hedges too! The much maligned Leyland conifer can be found bordering many gardens throughout the UK. However, Box, Yew, Viburnum, Privet, and Holly make far more attractive evergreen hedges. In challenging coastal areas Grisellina is a good choice for a boundary hedge.
Some evergreens offer aromatic foliage too such as Lavender, Santolina, and Rosemary. Many make superb wall shrubs too – Cotoneaster, Pyracantha, some evergreen Ceanothus varieties and Corokia.
Evergreens bring colour, scent, architecture, privacy, and formality to gardens, as well as attracting wildlife by offering food and shelter. No garden should be without them! Take a look at our choice of top 10 evergreens.
If you’re looking for more evergreen plants & flowers tips & advice, head to our evergreen plants hub – our one stop shop for everything you need to know about growing & caring for evergreen plants.
Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman’s nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online. I have a keen interest in drought resistant plants and a passion for perennials, particularly hardy Geraniums. I previously stood as regional secretary for the International Plant Propagation Society which gave me lots of opportunities to see what other horticulturalists were up to in their nurseries and gardens.