The Q&A Archives: Needed: dwarf naturalizing evergreen shrub, half shade, zone 7

Question: Application:

I need a dwarf naruralizing evergreen shrub at the to of a 4x6 waterfalls box area that is mostly shade, depending on season. (Advance, North Carolina)

I have installed a informal, 15x20 koi pond that is 'fed' by a 4x6 waterfall box built in a small back yard mountain close to 8 ft above the rest of the ground level. I'm trying to naturalize tree/shrub height as you ascend the falls. I have different dogwoods at the base followed by dwarf red maple, rhododendron, fosteri and burford holly in the mid sections (depending on sun/shade)and nothing at the top. There are blue rug along the rocks of the falls & stream, plus autumn fern, sedges, pennisetum, & miscanthus in other exposed areas depending on sun/shade. It's been quite a challenge.

I came across Tsuga canadensis 'Jeddeloh' in my books but as you would know, it's nowhere to be found in my area.

Can you suggest something?
I purchase most of my shrubs at Green Acres in Advance and Lowes Home Improvement in Winston-Salem. I rarely go to LA Reynolds Garden Showcase in Winston-Salem due to their (usual) mark-up but I would for specialty items.

Thank you for your time and your exceptional shrubbery.

John Castrovinci

Answer: It sounds as though you've done a wonderful job with your water feature. Here are two suggestions for addition to your pond area:
Oenothera hookeri (Evening Primrose) This plant is a perennial that grows flat on the ground sending up a 3' spike of 3-4" yellow flowers that open in the evening and morning. Use in the background. It is a heavy seeder, hard to fail. The sphinx moth hangs around the flower at dusk and after dark. It will survive drought and flooding, sun, wind and cold. It will fail only when crowded out by other taller plants. I like the plant as it is tough, stable in new environments, and after it has pioneered the new spot it is gradually replaced with the dominant species of the area.

Calycanthus occidentalis (Spice Bush) Deciduous shrub, 8 ft., flowers fragrant, reddish-brown in April-Aug. Likes sun to partial shade and moist soil. It is tolerant to sandy or clay soils, likes water. In the interior it will get leaf burn if it goes dry, but looks good if given regular water. If planted in shade and given regular water Spice Bush can be trained into Spice Vine.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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