Evergreens to Love

Southern gardeners love their evergreens, whether it’s a towering magnolia or a boxwood sphere. Woody ornamentals that don’t drop their leaves in the fall are especially useful here in the South where our winter landscapes tend to be colored in shades of buff and brown. Here’s a look at some of the colorful plants, large and small, that keep my spirits up in February as I wait for spring to unfold.  

Michelia figo, or banana shrub, holds onto its glossy, green foliage year round, giving it an elegant look.
The variegated daphne at the edge of my woods becomes a star this month, as blooms begin to open and release their sweet fragrance. This shrub requires little of me the rest of the year, just a little organic fertilizer in spring, and watering only when the woodland is dry.
A Fall-blooming camellia sasanqua (‘Bonanza’) is planted with a grouping of prostrate yews for year-round beauty.
Pieris is wonderful for winter containers because of its whorls of evergreen foliage. Spring blooms might remind you of lily-of-the-valley.
This prostrate deodar cedar has a wonderful presence in my garden during the winter months.
This rhododendron serves as a screening plant at the edge of my woods, but in winter it becomes an important backdrop for ferns and epimedium.
Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’, an evergreen perennial, is invaluable as a companion plant for winter annuals.
Illicium ‘Pink Frost’ looks just as good in winter as it does for the rest of the year. It has become one of my favorite shrubs.
What would the winter garden be without a few Lenten roses?
Autumn ferns bring texture and color to winter plantings and have handsome, coppery new growth in spring.
Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ adds texture to a container of violas and pansies.

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