gardeners probably think that in winter the
garden is a disaster area with no interest or
colour and best ignored until the weather is
on the mend and the evenings are brighter.
This is the time when the garden relies heavily
on its evergreen plants to provide the WOW factor.
there are winter flowering shrubs and even trees.
Berries and bark can add sparkle and splashes
of colour but it is the greenery that makes
the difference. During summer and autumn the
foliage is taken for granted forming a backdrop
to the more showy plants. When the deciduous
plants have lost their leafy cloaks and bloom
and are standing stark naked then attention
turns to the evergreens.
are so many favourites but since it is December
I will mention the holly and the ivy. Both have
the ability to be spectacular, the former with
its glossy, crinkly, spiked foliage that is
often variegated and its bright red or yellow
berries. Ivy leaves glisten in the rain forming
a sheet of leaves on a wall or scrambling up
an old tree. Variegated varieties such as ‘Paddy’s
Pride’ and ‘Iceberg’have small,
is tolerant of cold winds and coastal gardens.
My favourites are the green and creamy-yellow
of ‘Limelight’ and ‘Maculata’
with its dark green foliage margined and splashed
with deep gold.
japonica has enormous, hand-shaped, glossy,
evergreen foliage. It is striking as a large
plant. With smaller leaves but every bit as
shiny the camellias seem to be alive waiting
to break out into spring flower.
are gaultherias, euonymus, heathers, rhododendrons,
pieris and magnolias that attract attention
by waving in the slightest breeze. Conifers
are great for winter leaf colour with a range
that includes green, blue, plum, and yellow.
Some, such as the golden Irish yew (Taxus baccata
fastigiata ‘Aureomarginata’) stand
at attention every day unheeding of wind, frost,
snow or rain.
a windy day Phormiums (New Zealand flax) wave
aloft their sword-like leaves as if in anger
while the Australian palm (Cordyline australis)
works itself into a frenzy of thrashing foliage.
Winter green makes for a winter wonderland.
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