Thursday, January 23, 2014

Evergreens for winter garden interest

Evergreens are the backbone of any cold-climate winter garden. Evergreen trees and shrubs contribute color, texture, and form regardless of snow cover.  Using evergreens in a variety of colors adds an extra dimension to the winter landscape.

Globe blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Glauca Globosa' )

Globe blue spruce is a dwarf, globe-shaped, blue-needled Colorado Blue Spruce cultivar with a distinctive flattened top. This short evergreen shrub grows 3’-5’ tall and spreads 4’-6’ wide. Stiff, bristly, four-angled, green to blue-green to silver-blue needles (to 1.5” long) point outward from the branches in all directions.
Globe Blue Spruce prefers acidic well-drained sites in full sun in order to maximize the color intensity. Prune out upright shoots to maintain globose form. (Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction.) Zones 3-8.

"Fat Albert' Blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Fat Albert')

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers rich, moist soils.
This Colorado spruce cultivar has a dense, broad, upright pyramidal shape (a perfect cone), closely-spaced, ascending branches and steel blue needle color. It grows slowly (12"+ per year) to 10-15' tall (typically 10' by 7' in 10 years). Oblong cones (2-4" long) are greenish when young, maturing to light brown. This cultivar (introduced in the late 1970s by Iseli Nursery) was named after comedian Bill Cosby's fictional character. Zones 3-8.

Three slow-growing "Fat Albert" spruce were planted with the intent of decorating them with white lights during the holiday season where they can be seen in the distance by cars rounding the corner by the boat landing.

Scotch pine 'pom pom' ("Pinus sylvestris 'pom pom')

Scotch pine (pom pom) is an ornamental scotch pine with interesting clumped needle growth and an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine bluish-green foliage sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined texture. Scotch Pine (pom pom) will grow slowly to be about 15 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. This dwarf tree should only be grown in full sunlight and dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil. It must be kept pruned to maintain the pom pom puff effect, trimming back the new growth of the current season, other than to remove any dieback. Zone 3.

My husband delights in decorating the ornamental pine as a
"Charlie Brown Christmas tree" - probably A good thing
 he doesn't know how much they cost

Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo)

Mugo pine is a broad-spreading pine, native to the mountains of central and southern Europe. Dark green needles (1-3" long) appear in bundles of two. P. mugo var. pumilio is a dwarf variety with a dense, spreading form. It often grows prostrate with upright branching. It typically matures over time to 3-5' tall by 6-10' wide. Best grown in moist, well-drained, organically rich loams (clay or sandy) in full sun to light shade. Zones: 3-7.

 Juniper Blue Rug ('Juniperus horizontalis Wiltonii')

Blue rug juniper is an excellent ground cover or bank planting with it low growing thick silver-blue foliage. Blue Rug will do well in almost any well drained soil and needs moderate moisture. It has a mature height of 6" with a spread of 6'-8'.  This plant prefers an acidic soil for best results.  It is pH adaptable and salt tolerant. In the fall this plant will produce small, round, dark berries. Use this plant for mass planting, on banks, cascading over walls, in rock gardens, planter boxes, and around tall shrubs or trees. Prune young shoots to encourage branching, but older branches may not produce new growth. Zones 3-9.

Sea of Gold Juniper (Juniperus x pfitzerian ‘Sea of Gold’)

This moderate growing compact evergreen (3' tall and 4' wide) has outstanding lacy, golden-yellow foliage. Color is retained and deepens in winter better than other gold-tipped varieties. This is an excellent choice for mass plantings, along foundations, fence lines, driveways and island plantings.  Zones 3-9.

Gold Lace Juniper (Juniperus chinensis pfitzeriana 'Gold Lace')

The Juniper 'Gold Lace' has vibrant gold foliage that is outstanding in all seasons, becoming brighter yellow in summer.  'Gold Lace' is very hardy and has a moderate to fast growth. Pruning prior to bud break in spring or shortly after the hardening off of new growth is best. Growing to 3-4'x4-6' it is perfect for foundation planting, or in shrub beds. Adapted to banks and slopes. Combine with green junipers for a striking foliage contrast. Zones 4-9.

P.J.M. rhododendron

P.J.M. Rhododendron is covered in stunning clusters of lightly-scented lavender trumpet-shaped flowers with rose overtones at the ends of the branches in mid spring, which emerge from distinctive fuchsia flower buds. It is evergreen with small oval leaves which are a glossy green in summer and turn purplish bronze in the winter. They curl into narrow cylinders in cold winter weather and flatten out again when warms. Best grown in acidic, humusy, organically rich, moisture-retentive but well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers a sun dappled shade. Foliage may scorch in full sun. Acidify soils prior to planting and thereafter as needed. Plant in a location protected from strong winter winds. Zones 4-8.

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