Evergreen shrubs retain their foliage year around, with many blooming attractive small flowers in the spring or summer that later turn into bright red berries. This type of evergreen shrub not only adds visual interest and texture to your landscape at every season, but may also provide food and shelter to birds and wildlife.
Holly has long been a favourite red-berry-bearing evergreen shrub for gardeners. As an attractive ornamental plant with shiny dark green leaves, there are now over 400 species for the gardener, from small dwarf size that grow 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet), to extremely large 21 m (70 foot) tall varieties. Holly will bloom very tiny flowers that you may not notice, but will evolve into bright red berries. Though not edible for humans, after the berries have experienced several freezes and thaws, the birds and wildlife will enjoy them. Holly shrubs grow well all over the British Isles, with full sun and well-draining acidic soil.
The slow-growing yew plant is visually interesting in a landscape with its soft flat needle-like foliage and clusters of bright red berries. The plant is highly toxic, though the red berries have less poison content than the rest of the shrub -- which is why birds can feed on the berries. Japanese yew varieties will grow in a smaller bush form, while the English yew can reach great heights of a tree. Like the holly, you may not see the yew flowers except under close examination, but the attractive red berries are quite visible. Yews prefer to grow in partial shade, but can tolerate full shade.
Pyracantha is a showy ornamental evergreen shrub that can grow quite large if left to grow naturally. The shrub is drought tolerant and often found in desert landscapes. Pyracantha has branches with hard, spiky thorns and shiny dark green leaf foliage that remains green throughout the winter. In colder climates, however, the leaves may take on a brown tone. In spring, the shrub blooms abundant clusters of small white, fragrant flowers that develop into clusters of orange to red berries, depending on the species. The berries remain on the bush during autumn and winter.
Skimmia shrubs are small, slow-growing ornamental evergreen shrubs in all of the UK. The mound-shaped skimmia shrub prefers to grow in partial shade to shade with organically rich, well-draining soil. Skimmia shrubs have 7.5 to 12.5 cm (3 to 5 inch glossy green leaves and will bloom in the spring with clusters of small pink flower buds that open to white. Female skimmia shrubs, with a male skimmia plant nearby, will produce an abundance of bright red berry clusters in the autumn.
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