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.
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.