Evergreens for small gardens

Top 10 Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen shrubs provide permanent structure in the garden and all-year-round interest.

Some have beautiful flower displays, or are highly scented in winter when little else is growing, and some have variegated or colourful foliage – a perfect foil for summer perennials, and a feature in itself during the winter. Grow evergreen shrubs as stand-alone specimens, as part of a mixed border or as hedging.

There are plenty of evergreen shrubs to choose from so here’s some inspiration in our pick of top ten evergreen shrubs for an easy and reliable display.

1. Daphne

Daphne plants are well loved for their small but incredibly fragrant flowers which appear in winter and early spring, when little else in the garden is growing. There are plain-leaved and variegated varieties available, such as Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’, which has a rounded compact habit and attractive glossy, yellow-edged leaves. Daphne is a superb small evergreen shrub for the garden. Grow Daphne in sunny or partially-shaded mixed borders, woodland gardens and rock gardens.

2. Box

Box (Buxus) is a compact and versatile evergreen shrub. Box plants are superb for clipping into small, formal hedges which can be used to edge veg or flower beds, or try creating your own elaborate box parterre! Tolerant of deep shade, it’s great for awkward sunless spots, or for growing beneath tall trees. Box can also be used for topiary, either in the ground or grown in patio containers. Grow in a well-drained soil in partial or full shade, but keep the soil moist if growing box in full sun.

3. Fatsia

Fatsia japonica is a versatile shrub with large, glossy hand-shaped leaves borne on stout, upright stems. This architectural shrub is surprisingly hardy, and copes well with coastal conditions and shady areas of the garden. Fatsia plants make an eye-catching feature in borders or large patio containers.

4. Lavender

A well-loved shrub, grown for its fragrant summer flowers and scented silver-green foliage. Flowering in shades of purple, lilac or pink, this hardy shrub is versatile; from edging to hedging and borders to patio containers – every garden should have lavender! The flowers are highly attractive to bees and butterflies, and thanks to their Mediterranean origins lavender plants have good drought tolerance, coping well with light, sandy soils. Try cutting some lavender flowers for a vase indoors, or to sprinkle on top of cakes!

5. Aucuba

One of the toughest shrubs out there! Aucubas are popular evergreen shrubs valued for their tolerance of full shade, dry soils, pollution and salty coastal conditions. Plain-leaved varieties are available, but the speckled yellow cultivars are the most popular and give rise to the common name ‘Spotted Laurel’. The leaves are generally quite large, leathery and glossy in appearance making them useful for achieving a tropical look. Female plants produce bright red berries in autumn if a male pollination partner is planted nearby. Grow Aucuba as specimen plants, for hedges or in difficult heavily-shaded corners of the garden to make a fine contrast to other foliage plants and flowers.

6. Camellia

A classic spring-flowering shrub originating from the woodlands of Asia. Camellias are popular for their glossy deep green foliage and abundance of large, showy flowers early in the year. Their flowers can be single or double and come in a range of colours from pink to red, through to yellow or white. Although naturally large shrubs, dwarf varieties are available. They are elegant shrubs, ideal for mixed planting schemes or as specimen shrubs in borders and woodland gardens with partial or dappled shade. They need an acid soil, so if your soil is neutral or alkaline, grow Camellias in large patio containers filled with a mixture of ericaceous compost and a soil-based compost such as John Innes No. 3.

7. Euonymus

Cultivars of Euonymus fortunei are versatile, low-maintenance, evergreen shrubs with a multitude of uses and a tolerance of poor soils, coastal conditions and shade. Euonymus plants can be grown as evergreen ground cover or trained to climb a wall, and tolerate north-facing walls well. They will also grow as hedges or free standing shrubs in garden borders and containers. With a variety of foliage colours, Euonymus fortunei cultivars are fantastic for adding winter colour to the garden.

8. Mahonia

Mahonia plants have an architectural form and glossy, spiny leaves, similar to holly. They are valued for their late winter and spring flowers which are bright yellow and highly fragrant. Mahonia flowers are borne on long, elegant racemes or in clusters at the tips of branches, creating a distinctive and striking display when much of the garden is still dormant. Coping well with coastal conditions, clay soils and heavy shade Mahonia makes an unbeatable, low-maintenance addition to shrub borders and woodland gardens.

9. Photinia

Photinia is a tough, versatile shrubs, the most popular variety being Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’, whose glossy leaves are bright red when young, gradually changing to bronze-green through to deep green. Photinia grows well in sunny borders, as specimen shrubs in large patio containers, or as hedging, for which Photinia x fraseri is ideal.

10. Holly

A well-known evergreen shrub, with glossy, dark green leaves, which can be either spiny or smooth. Best known for its classic dark green leaves and red berries at Christmas, there are many variegated forms of Holly which make outstanding specimen plants in the garden or as part of a mixed border. Holly also makes a fantastic dense hedge, for which Ilex aquifolium is a good species to use. Spring flowers are highly attractive to bees and are followed by red or yellow berries on female plants, if a male pollination partner is planted nearby. The berries are a good winter food source for birds. Tolerant of harsh conditions, this tough shrub deserves a place in every garden.

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What Are The Best Hardy Evergreen Shrubs For Small Gardens?

Here in the UK it is common to have relatively small gardens and in modern homes the gardens are getting even smaller. This doesn’t mean that we should give up on developing our gardens altogether, we simply need to choose the right plants to get the look we want on a smaller scale.

Evergreen shrubs are a great choice for a small garden and can be purchased in so many varieties that you can have a splash of colour in your garden all year round. And best of all, there are some types of shrub that are especially hardy and need very little looking after, making them easier than ever.

Real estate agents say that a great looking garden can add as much as 20% to the value of your home and can really set it apart from other homes on your street. First impressions really do count, so the front and back gardens (no matter how small) can benefit from a little care and attention.

Choosing evergreen shrubs that are easy care and hardy is a great start towards getting the garden you want.

Contrary to popular belief, evergreen shrubs allow you to add colour and interest to your garden that will be consistent throughout the seasons

What Is An Evergreen Shrub?

An evergreen shrub is one that will keep its green foliage throughout the entire year – never dropping its leaves the way that many other trees and plants do. Shrubs also come as deciduous types and do die back during the Autumn and Winter.

Evergreen shrubs, however, allow you to add colour and interest to your garden that will be consistent and almost permanent.

While an evergreen shrub appears to retain its leaves all year long, they do in fact have a turnover of leaves, but the process is gradual and hardly noticed. This compares to deciduous, where the leaves fall all at once as an adaptation to the cold or wet season.

Evergreens tend to be more likely to thrive in warmer climates and where there are fewer nutrients in the soil, however some are able to withstand severe cold.

For homes in exposed areas of the country, shrubs prove ideal. The fact that they are closer to the earth means that they are more easily able to find the nutrients in the soil, and they are not prone to high winds and the damage that can come from the weather

What Makes A Hardy Shrub?

Most shrubs are able to to survive for around 20 to 30 years, making them one of the longest lasting plants you can choose for your garden. Shrubs have a similar structure to trees, but generally have several woody stems and are closer to the ground.

The fact that they are closer to the earth means that they are more easily able to find the nutrients in the soil and they are not prone to high winds and the damage that can come from the weather.

Shrubs are also hardy because they need very little watering or pruning and they grow extremely slowly. They are able to grow in dry or very wet soils, rockeries and in-between rocks and stones. They can therefore we used in almost any location in your garden.

Whatever the size of your garden, there’s sure to be a shrub that will fit the space. For those with smaller areas, dwarf and miniature varieties are preferable

Shrubs In A Small Garden: The Benefits

If you garden is small you may want height and structure from your plant choices, but you may want to avoid large trees and bushes. These could overwhelm a small space and offer too much shade that could hinder the growth of other plants and grass.

Shrubs are the perfect choice because they offer so many different sizes, you can choose one that is perfect for the space. You can also use dwarf or miniature varieties as they will grow to less than 1 metre, and in many cases, stay much smaller than that.

Even if you choose a larger shrub of around 8 feet, you can prune and trim it to keep it to the size you want – this is easy to do because these shrubs tend to grow very slowly.

Shrubs are also an excellent way of providing colour in a small garden. With limited space and small borders and garden beds, you want colour that will last for the entire year and not take up too much space. You also want to avoid having to maintain these plants too much – so hardy varieties are perfect.

You can trim and prune your evergreen shrubs as you wish. This will ensure they maintain their shape, and encourage new growth of shoots.

Maintaining An Evergreen: 3 Top Tips

Evergreen shrubs need very little care because they are so hardy. However a few pointers will ensure your shrubs last the distance:

● Do not overwater evergreen shrubs. They prefer to have a decent amount of water occasionally, rather than regular watering. For most of the year, normal rainfall should be enough. However if it hasn’t rained in a while and the ground is becoming dry you can top up with a good dose of water.
● You can trim and prune your evergreen shrubs as you wish. This will ensure they maintain their shape and encourage new growth of flowers and foliage. You will normally only need to do this once per year and you should follow the instructions for your particular shrub to get the best results.
● These hardy shrubs need very little in the way of fertiliser, but you can give them a feed once or twice a year, if your soil is especially arid.

From Daphne and Lavender, to Acuba and Camellia, when it comes to evergreen shrubs, the options on offer are almost endless!

6 Stunning Evergreen Shrubs To Set The Right Impression

There are so many evergreen shrubs that you can choose from, however we have come up with a list that includes some of the most hardy plants that will grow and thrive despite cold or dry weather and ones that require very little care and maintenance.

Best of all, they are ideal for small gardens, as they are small in size, and big in colour.

Daphne –

This shrub offers beautiful, small flowers that are incredibly fragrant. The leaves can be plain or variegated and they tend to grown in a rounded compact shape.

They grow well in shaded parts of the garden where there is little sun.

Box –

This classic green shrub can be shaped to meet your expectations – either squares or curves, giving plenty of flexibility. They are very tolerant of shade, and will grow well out of the sun.

If they happen to be in a sunny spot, you simply need to water them more often. They will keep their green colour all year long.

Fatsia japonica –

This shrub features large glossy leaves that add drama to your garden. They are especially hardy and will cope well with windy spots along the coast or gardens that have very little sun.

They will come out in cream coloured flowers in the autumn and can be grown along borders due to their small size.

Choosing evergreen shrubs will give you the year round colour and texture you desire, without overwhelming your garden, or taking up too much space

Lavender –

Yet another British class shrub, and so easy to grow. With a lovely colour for all of the year, these plants are from the Mediterranean, and therefore cope well with areas where it is dry and sunny.

Best of all, the flowers can be cut and used indoors for all kinds of purposes.

Acuba –

This is known as one of the most hardy shrubs you can find, as they tolerate full shade, polluted areas and salty coastal spots.

With large leaves and red berries in the autumn, these plants are perfect for patio containers, or as borders along with other plants.

Camellia –

With pretty flowers in the spring and glossy green foliage, the camellia is one of the most loved shrubs in our gardens. They can be grown to large sizes, but they will grow well with hard pruning, so they can be controlled.

They grow well in dappled shady spots, and need an acid soil. But once they are growing, they will produce flowers year after year.

Your small garden will look amazing with a variety of beautiful shrubs that are easy to care for and attractive to look at. Choosing evergreen shrubs will give you that year round colour and texture that you need, without overwhelming your garden or taking up too much space.

Seeking additional green-fingered advice on evergreen shrubs for your garden? Talk to our team of green-fingered experts today, by simply clicking the button below!

Top 5 Shrubs for Small Gardens

Shrubs range from ankle high to taller than you are. If you have a small garden, one big bush can overwhelm the area. Go for smaller shrubs and aim for balance. The best shrubs for your small garden depend on the growing conditions you can offer them. Here are the Top 5 great choices for different exposures and soils.

1. Short evergreen shrub – If you want year-round structure and texture for your small garden, pick a short, mounding evergreen that will never outgrow its location. Mops dwarf mugo pine (Pinus mugo ‘Mops’) is a good choice. This mugo pine doesn’t need shearing to stay dense and compact. It thrives in chilly climates and forms a mound about a yard high.

2. Protective hedge material – Firethorn (Pyracantha spp.) has the reputation of being armed and dangerous. It’s an evergreen often used in defensive hedges, with its sharp thorns. Gardeners also appreciate the ornamental value of the red, yellow and orange fall berries. It can grow tall enough to form a real shrub wall. For small gardens, try Tiny Tim (Pyracantha “Tiny Tim), with many of the same attributes but only three feet tall. It has less thorns, and the berries hold onto the branches longer, up through the following spring.

3. Shady business – If your small garden happens to be in shade or partial shade, you’ll need a shrub that thrives without too much sun. Look no farther than popular boxwood (Buxus spp.), the quintessential building-block shrub. Boxwood is easy to grow in sun or shade, and it accepts severe pruning. Some gardeners enjoy creating different boxwood shapes with creative clipping.

4. Sweet smelling small shrub – When fragrance counts, consider honeysuckle. Purple Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica chinensis) grows fast and smells sweet but doesn’t get about two or three feet tall. Expect flowers in late spring. The shrub is decorative even in winter, with its deep purple stem and branches.

5. Shrubs for acidic soil/shady site – Azalea is the queen of the shade garden and it also likes acidic soil. If that describes your garden, pick any variety of dwarf azalea (Azalea obtusum) to ornament your small backyard. These small azaleas stay between two and three feet. Slow growing evergreens, dwarf azaleas flower profusely in spring. Select among pink, white or red-blossomed varieties. A little mulch over the root area gives these plants the protection they need to keep them vital.

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