The more I garden, the more I want plants that look like something all year – namely evergreens. Compared to the much flashier flowering plants, they’re pretty underwhelming at the garden centers but boy, do I appreciate them right about now.
Take, for example, this scene just outside my living room window, the window I look out when I’m doing my stretches every morning. The bright green and yellow evergreen against the house is a ‘Picturata’ Acuba in its second year in my garden. It’ll slowly grow to an eventual 4-6′ tall, when it’ll be an awesome accent plant.
Growing much more quickly is the Crossvine (Bignonia), a vine that’s native to the Mid-Atlantic and produces orange trumpet-shaped flowers that are dazzling to humans and hummingbirds.
For winter color I’m also a fan of good-old paint. Or in this case, a tinted stain, so it’ll gradually fade a bit but never peel. And it matches the color of the chair perfectly.
By contrast, here’s what’s opposite that privacy screen, as seen from my living room window – the stems of four Macrophylla hydrangeas and the green fronds of two Autumn Ferns. This year I’ll be yanking out those hydrangeas and replacing them with a dozen more Autumn Ferns. Sorry, but hydrangeas just aren’t pulling their weight year-round in this very visible spot.
Nearby, evergreens are doing what they do so well in gardens – creating privacy. These are ‘Emerald Green’ Arborvitaes, with Nandinas and another Crossvine on the small privacy screen, combined with a Trumpet Honeysuckle for seasonal color. Where I live, only small privacy screens are allowed, so without evergreens our gardens would be awfully public.
Above, the view of my back garden from the interior sidewalk that runs through the community. Three ‘Yoshino’ Cryptomerias are quickly providing a sense of privacy from passersby and just as importantly, screening an ugly view from my porch. The evergreen grassy plants here Carexes.
Above, a view of my front yard, which unfortunately faces an elevated parking lot – thus the need for more ‘Emerald Greens.’ They’ll need another year or two of growth before they block my view of cars.
So am I a little obsessed with evergreens? I didn’t used to be, when I gardened on a hillside with views from indoors of treetops and a large deck. But now that my views are at ground level, I want to look out and see some green, dammit.