Evergreen shrubs are the backbone of an ornamental landscape or border because they provide year-round foliage colour. Gardeners often incorporate a layering effect with tall trees and shrubs in the background that naturally link to compact plants and shrubs in the front layer, blending easily into a lawn or walkway. Fortunately several options are available for choosing small, flowering, evergreen shrubs for the initial first layer.
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Rhododendrons are usually thought of as large shrubs, but dwarf varieties are available for locations that need plants that matures at no taller than 1 foot. "Liz Ann" is a white-flowering rhododendron with tiny, forest-green leaves, while "Maricee" displays masses of small, pink blooms. For a tiny, yellow-flowering variety, choose "Peter Bee." These rhododendrons bloom from late April into May and mature at 1 foot high.
Small Laurel Varieties
Another evergreen shrub well known for growing quite large is the mountain laurel, also referred to as Kalmia latifolia. This hardy shrub produces dark-green, shiny leaves and is available in dwarf options for the garden. "Tinkerbelle" grows in a rounded form with deep-pink buds opening to medium pink, while "Tiddlywinks" blooms remain a bright pink upon opening. "Elf" buds appear pink and open to full flowers of a blush-white shade. These laurels all mature at only 2 feet tall and bloom in late May and early June.
Deciduous and evergreen forms of the flowering shrub daphne, or Thymelaeaceae, are available on the market. A tiny selection, "Lawrence Crocker," grows in a dense mound of glossy, dark, evergreen leaves to only 12 inches high and wide. It provides sweetly fragrant, lavender flowers from spring through autumn. A rose-pink spring flowering choice is "Napolitana," which matures to only 2 feet.
Evergreen azaleas vary from tall, open and willowy forms to short dense and compact ones. "Alexander" is a dwarf variety maturing at only 1 foot high. It is covered with dark-green, pointed leaves and in mid-June blossoms unfold in a red-orange shade. "Cherry Drops" provides flowers in early May in bright red, after carrying a deep-green canopy of shiny leaves all winter. It also is a dwarf reaching only 12 inches tall. An azalea named "White Dwarf" is completely covered in mid-June with small, single, white blooms. It matures at 18 inches tall.
Heaths and heathers
Heath, or Erica, and heather, also knows as Calluna, are evergreen plants that give year-round garden texture and colour. The heather "Allegro" has dark-green foliage with deep-red flowers that bloom from July through October. It grows to 18 inches tall. A short heath at only 9 inches is "Springwood White." Its white flowers bloom from January through May on top of bright green foliage.
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