by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
When you think of small evergreen shrubs, do you have an image in your mind of small, rather uninteresting lumps of green dotting the yard? Well, you shouldn’t. There are plenty of lush bushes that are colorful and interesting. It’s just a matter of knowing which grows best in the mountains of Arizona. My list of short, showy shrubs with great color will enhance your home with unique evergreen colors. We carry all of them at Watters Garden Center, but I also have attached a link to buy them online.
Blue Star Juniper– This is strictly a foliage plant. If you like the look of a blue spruce tree but lack the space for something that big, merely scale down and grow a Blue Star Juniper. With its short blue needles, it looks terrific when planted next to shrubs with golden foliage.
Dwarf English Boxwood – is a small, rounded evergreen that forms tufts of growth resembling clouds if left unpruned. This slow-growing dwarf form is ideal for edging borders along pathways or around flower beds. Well-suited for topiary and containers and resistant to boxwood leaf miners.
Eichholz Cotoneaster – is a very low-growing, wide-spreading ground cover with highly ornamental berries. Glossy, bright green leaves provide rich autumn color as they turn from gold to red. Small white flowers in spring develop into showy red fruit in fall.
Euonymus’ Emerald’ N’ Gold’ – this evergreen bush exhibits variegation in its leaves. The name describes its bicolored leaves pretty well: They are, indeed, emerald at the center and gold at the margins.
Indian Hawthorn – This easy-to-grow evergreen produces vast clusters of fragrant, pearl-pink flowers. Perfect for planting along driveways and parking medians where reflected heat is an issue for many other plants. This spring-blooming evergreen loves Arizona heat!
Gilt Edge Silverberry – A splendid Arizona native, this shrub sports a combination of golden-yellow margins on bright green foliage that provides incredible year-round landscape interest. It’s superb as a hedge or low screen that tolerates heat and wind and requires little maintenance. Tiny, fragrant, silvery flowers followed by ornamental red fruit. Impervious to both javelina and deer.
Mugho Pine – With its dense, symmetrical growth and compact, rounded form, this dwarf pine is perfect for confined spaces. Stunning green foliage takes on a golden hue during colder months. Its slow habit makes this evergreen ideal as a specimen in smaller gardens or massed to make a bold statement in larger landscapes.
Yucca– Massed together, yuccas form an impressive display during their bloom period. ‘Garland’s Gold’ and ‘Golden Sword’ are bold choices with or without their remarkable flowers.
Winter Heaths – first-time growers of these alpine evergreens are impressed by their long blooming period. Winter heaths, Erica darleyensis, live up to their name, putting out flowers in the most unlikely season: Winter. If the climate and conditions are right, they flower from late winter right through spring.
February Gardening Classes Every Saturday at Watters Garden Center.
February 6 @ 9:30 am ~ Winter Soil Preparation for Growing Success.
February 13 @ 9:30 am ~ Mountain Fruit Trees and the Heavy Harvest.
February 20 @ 9:30 am ~ Gardening for Newcomers.
February 27 @ 9:30 am ~ Evergreens that Bloom Early.
Until next week, I’ll be helping gardening friends choose the perfect evergreens here at Watters Garden Center.