Answer: A Japanese maple would look stunning at a front entrance, but it is deciduous so for a few months of the year, you'd see bare branches. Camellias and azaleas will remain evergreen and also provide seasonal blooms. You might also consider Andromeda (Pieris japonica): an evergreen shrub with clusters of fragrant cream-colored flowers in early spring.
A variety of rhododendrons and azaleas brings lush foliage and bright clusters of blossoms to the shade garden; Royal azalea: grows to 15 feet and has large pale pink flowers in May before it leafs out; Sweet azalea (R. arborescens): flowers in June and has glossy red foliage in the fall; Swamp azalea (R. viscosum): has fragrant pink flowers and orange-bronze foliage in the fall.
Enkianthus: can attain 25 feet in height but can be pruned to keep it much smaller; red-veined enkianthus has bell-shaped, red-veined flowers in May and brilliant fall foliage.
Chinese dogwood: in deep shade it may flower from June through August.
All will adapt to growing in a large container. Best wishes with your landscape!
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