So what’s with the rows of narrow-leaved evergreen shrubs shrouded in burlap and bound with ropes that I see on my daily travels? Or worse, the oh-so-inviting, brown-on-one-side shrubs in pots standing proudly at the entrances of restaurants and storefronts?
I am guessing it went kind of like this: “Oh, evergreens look good in the snow. We have snow; let’s plant them.” Then: “Oh, but the evergreens do not like the cold as much as we thought they would. We must protect them.” And thus you have this unfortunate paradox: shrubs planted for winter interest that must be protected against winter in one of the ugliest ways I’ve ever seen.
Folks. You may as well plant deciduous shrubs. They will look wonderful in summer, and even bare of leaves their branches are attractive in a sculptural way. (Coated with ice they look gorgeous.) And, as we know, there are shrubs whose bare branches change color in winter. And there are cultivars that will stand up to frigid winds: creeping junipers, yews (sorry, I can’t think of the exciting ones). But I feel so sorry for all these winterburned arborvitae and cedars that I see around here.
As for the potted-evergreen crew, I’m not quite sure what they’re thinking. They might want to look into some artificial greenery, because very few shrubs could hold up to the harsh conditions of a pot in our winter climate.
As I write this, it is a brisk 7º out, and the only happy plants I have are under a deep blanket of white.
Mr. McGregor’s Daughter gave me the idea for this, but it makes her so mad, she can’t even rant about it.