For year-round color and structure, evergreens are hard to beat. Typically dark green specimens such as yew, holly, and Western red cedar look wonderful with yellow-green species such as Cryptomeria japonica “Elagans Aurea” or blue-green spruce, or underplanted with lower-growing variegated shrubs such as euonymus.
Evergreens look their best mixed with other plants. Combining them with deciduous species makes an open, varied framework that has the advantage of some winter color. Try to use evergreens with additional attributes. Some have attractive flowers. The strawberry tree has clusters of scented white flowers in fall, that often sit side-by-side with its fruits.
Conifers are always interesting. Try Abies koreana, which is a slow-growing pyramid-shaped tree with dark shiny needles that have a silver underside and lovely purple-blue cones held upright like candles on a Christmas tree.
AN EVERGREEN ISLAND
LEFT: An island bed of evergreens and conifers shows how to achieve balance and interest using low-growing variegated varieties of euonymus, plus pencil-shaped firs to draw the eye upward.
A JIGSAW OF EVERGREENS
OPPOSITE: Interlocking shapes of prostrate and low-growing evergreens and colorful heathers are set against the dramatic dark green backdrop of a classic yew hedge.
Euonymus fortune “Emerald”n”Gold”