New Year’s Resolution: Adding Structure to Your Garden
January is probably the most optimistic month of the year. Besides signaling the start of a brand new year, it’s symbolic of a fresh start, making resolutions to replace bad habits with good ones and continuing down the path of self-improvement.
Why not include your garden when making those New Year’s resolutions? Keep it simple and achievable…honestly, how many resolutions have you actually kept? No more sweeping statements like ‘I vow to never to let a plant die again’, instead create specific (and realistic) goals. After all, the point here isn’t to give yourself an impossibly steep mountain to climb, but an attainable goal that you actually look forward to accomplishing. A perfect New Year’s resolution might be to consider adding more structure in the form of evergreen shrubs to your own garden.
This is an ideal time of year to take a good, long look at your garden to assess its winter structure (sometimes referred to as its ‘bones’). These bones are what hold it together during bleaker times of year, when annuals are long gone and deciduous perennials and trees are fast asleep until spring. Evergreen shrubs are a key factor in adding much-needed structure to a garden, providing year-round interest and helping you avoid the dreaded ‘blank slate’ look of winter.
One of my favorite, tough-as-nails shrubs for adding beauty to winter gardens is Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortuneii). Able to withstand the most voracious snails and slugs, our occasional below-freezing temperatures, and California’s unrelenting summer droughts, these evergreen shrubs always make an appearance in my clients’ gardens. The Gold Splash® Wintercreeper is hands-down at the top of the list, with it’s bright and cheery gold-variegated foliage adding the missing sunshine to the dreary days of winter. Growing to just 24” tall, this is the perfect shrub to place at the front of a border.
To beautifully complement the vibrant yellow of the Wintercreeper, I like to plant the multi-colored ‘Frozen Flame’ Hebe nearby to add even more color to the winter garden. Each leaf contains several shades of light and dark burgundy, in addition to its plum colored stems and purple flowers. And it’s 3x3 size means it’s perfect to place behind the lower growing Gold Splash® Wintercreeper as the second tier in your layered garden bed.
A stunning evergreen shrub to place at the back of your garden bed is the Castle Wall™ Blue Holly. Growing to an impressive 5 to 8-feet tall, but only 3 to 4-wide this holly is perfect for mid-sized gardens as it’s narrow, pyramidal shape won’t overwhelm the garden bed.
One of the things that separate a good garden from a great one is a garden’s year-round structure with something beautiful to look at every day of the year. Include a few of these evergreen shrubs in your garden this coming year and you’ll be off to a great start!
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