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Himalayan laurel

Evergreen shrubs for year-round interest

Golden Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata Sundance) is a popular shrub with marvelous shining yellow foliage. There is also a variety with plain-leaved. This makes a nice contrast between the rich green leaves and the white, scented flowers that appear in spring and again in late summer. Use this shrub in a mixed border, as a foundation plant, or as a specimen in a container.

Himalayan laurel Golden Mexican orange blossom

Golden Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa Golden Pillar) is a variety of cypress that is grown for its foliage. The outside leaves are golden and the inside leaves are yellow-tinted. In partial shade leaves become yellow-green. It looks good in any border, especially if planted next to green, blue or grey-leaved plant.

Mountain pepper (Drimys lanceolata) is a dense, upright, evergreen shrub with dark red stems, bearing slender, sweetly aromatic, bright green young foliage and darker old leaves and clusters of fragrant, creamy-white flowers in late spring and spherical, black fruit in autumn. Keep it in good shape by mulching with well-rotted leafmold in late winter.

Golden Monterey cypress Mountain pepper

Elaeagnus pungens Maculata is grown for its leaves that are gilded by an irregular central splash of golden yellow, leaving two tones of green around the outside. The undersides are pale and silvery. The stems and midribs are metallic bronze-gold. This is a must have shrub for the winter garden to be complete. If any plain green shoots occur just snip them out.

Lonicera nitida Baggesen’s Gold is a variety of honeysuckle with tiny, ovate, yellow leaves which become greenish-yellow in shade or bleached in full sun. The leaves arch over each other like a golden waterfall, making from this shrub a welcome splash of gold all year-round. It may also be grown as a low hedge.

Elaeagnus pungens Maculata Lonicera nitida Baggesen’s Gold

Lily of the valley bush (Mahonia x media Charity) is grown for the attractive foliage and showy winter flowers. From late autumn to late winter it bears erect racemes of slightly scented, deep yellow flowers. The leaves are dark green comprising many spiny leaflets. It will look good at the back of a border, where the plants in front of it will die down in winter to reveal its beauty.

Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) has a very lacy appearance because of the lance shaped leaflets. In mid summer it bears large panicles of small white flowers followed by green berries which ripen to bright red than turn black. The wood is bright yellow. Young leaves are glowing red and the older foliage takes on a bright reddish-purple hue in winter. Protect from cold winds and offer a well-drained soil to this shrub to preserve its hardiness.

Lily of the valley bush Heavenly bamboo

Christmas berry (Photinia x fraseri Red Robin) is grown especially for its pliable stems of long, leathery leaves which when young have a brilliant bronze-red color. For best growing conditions you should offer some shelter from late spring frosts and a sunny or partially shaded position in moist but well-drained soil. It is a good alternative to pieris where the soil is not acid enough.

Variegated Italian buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus Argenteovariegata) is an evergreen shrub grown for its grey-green leaves with silvery-white margins, bearing inconspicuous yellow flowers in late spring and early summer, followed by small, red berries that turn black as they ripen. Use this shrub to brighten up a sheltered corner.

Christmas berry Variegated Italian buckthorn

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Shrubs for Spring Color

We all wait spring, the season that start to bring color in our gardens, so it makes sense to plant for an early show of color and perfume. Place shrubs for spring interest at intervals around your garden, underplanted with groups of bulbs and spring-flowering herbaceous perennials.

In the next lines you will find some examples of shrubs that you could plant in your garden for spring color and interest. Many of them are well known and used for a long time in our garden scheme.

Stachyurus (Stachyurus praecox) is a deciduous shrub native from Japan. Its reddish-brown branches are strung with hanging racemes of small, greenish-yellow, bell-shaped flowers, like exotic catkins, in late winter to early spring. It prefers an acid, humus-rich soil, enriched with leafmould or well-rotted compost before planting.

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