Planting evergreen shrubs and plants provides your garden with year-round green leaves, providing interest even in the dead of winter. When it comes to selecting plants with evergreen foliage, home gardeners have many options, ranging from shrubs to flowering vines and garden perennials. Many of these plants also feature spring flowers, adding an additional splash of colour and fragrance to your garden.
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Shrubs in the landscape help provide privacy, create formal hedges and establish borders around gardens and homes. Many types of shrubs feature evergreen foliage that stays green and lush even through the winter. Arbor vitae -- Thuja occidentalis and Thuja orientalis -- are slow-growing, dense evergreens, ideal for privacy screens. Foliage is bright green, though oriental arbor vitae features a gold accent. Junipers -- Juniperus cultivators -- range from low-growing, creeping varieties to larger types with weeping branches. There evergreen foliage ranges from golden- to silvery-green, depending on the variety. Both arbor vitae and juniper thrive in full sun, although arbor vitae may require some protection from harsh afternoon sun.
In addition to evergreen shrubs grown for their year-round foliage, some evergreen foliage also sports spring flowers. Classic flowering azaleas and rhododendrons -- Rhododendron cultivators -- come in evergreen varieties. Evergreen rhododendrons feature bell-shaped flowers in a wide array of colours, including shades of white, pink, peach, red and purple. Two other less-showy flowering evergreen shrubs include wax myrtle and yaupon -- respectively, Morella cerifera and Ilex vomitoria. Wax myrtle features green flowers that give way to showy, blue fruit in the summer. Yaupon features small, white flowers that resemble honeysuckle.
Shrubs are not the only plants that fill the garden with year-round foliage colours. Along fences, trellises, garden arbors and even walls, try growing evergreen flowering vines. For fast-growing flowering vines with showy, flowering colours, try evening trumpetflower and trumpet honeysuckle -- Gelsemium sempervirens and Lonicera sempervirens, respectively. Evening trumpetflower features twining vines that will climb between 10 and 20 feet. It features bright yellow blooms from December to May. Trumpet honeysuckle is another hardy climber that will range between three and 20 feet. It features red or yellow tubular flowers in the spring, followed by red berries. This vine attracts hummingbirds.
Fill your flower garden with evergreen perennials for green foliage long after the spring and summer blooming season. Some ideal evergreen and semi-evergreen perennials include Lenten rose, pig squeak and candytuft -- respectively, Helleborus orientalis, Bergenia cordifolia and Iberis sempervirens. Lenten rose is an early bloomer, blossoming in March with bell-shaped flowers. Lenten rose blossom colours include white, green, lavender and burgundy. Pig squeak features ornamental, shiny foliage that turns various shades of red, maroon and purple in the winter. Spring flowers bloom in clusters of pink or white flowers on foot-long stalks. Candytuft is a low-growing, mounding perennial ideal for use as a border plant. In the spring, the plant blossoms with a blanket of white flowers.
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- Colorado State University Extension; Evergreen Shrubs for Home Gardens; J.E. Kleet and R.A. Cox; June 2006
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Ask Mr. Smarty Pants; Evergreen, Flowering Shrub; Joe Marcus; Feb. 12, 2009
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Ask Mr. Smarty Pants; Fast Growing, Evergreen Vine; Nan Hampton; May 14, 2008.
- Iowa State University Extension; Horticulture and Home Pest News; Early Spring Blooming Perennials; Cindy Haynes; April 24, 1998
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Kemper Center for Home Gardening: Rhododendrons and Azaleas