The Q&A Archives: House landscaping on north side

Question: What will work well in a garden on the north side - foundation planting. Not higher than 8 feet in one spot - rest under windows and do not wish to block them. Perennial green please. (want something in winter)

Answer: Some evergreens to consider include:
Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora):
Glossy abelia may grow to a height of 5 feet in southern areas but is smaller when grown in colder climates. It is valued for its small, pink flowers that appear from June to frost, with the cultivar 'Edward Goucher' having larger, darker-pink flowers. Abelia may be used as a specimen plant or as a small hedge.
In winter, the foliage turns purple. In severe winters, some of the foliage may drop and tops may be killed back, but new shoots develop rapidly from the base in spring. Prune the dead twigs in late spring after growth starts. (3 to 6 ft. height; equal spread).

Azalea And Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.):
The plants commonly called azaleas and those called rhododendron all belong to the botanical genus, Rhododendron. It is the largest group of woody ornamental plants, with over 2000 species, varieties, and hybrids having been recognized.
Special soil conditions and cultural requirements are needed to grow azaleas and rhododendrons. Because of this and the many species and varieties available to choose from, they cannot be covered adequately here.

Wintergreen Barberry (Berberis julianae):
Wintergreen barberry, an excellent small shrub, is attractive in the garden throughout the year. The evergreen foliage is 3 inches long, narrow, and spiny. The thorny twigs make it an excellent barrier and hedge plant though pruning can be difficult. Small, yellow flowers appear in May. Bluish-black berries add interest in the fall. Wintergreen barberry is very hardy and easily grown. (6 to 8 ft. height; 5 to 7 ft. spread).

Mentor Barberry (Berberis x mentorensis ):
An extremely hardy plant, mentor barberry will adapt to almost any soil. It is a semi-evergreen shrub that will retain its leaves until mid-winter. It has been planted extensively for hedges because of its dense upright habit of growth and its thorny branches and leaf margins. Little maintenance is required to keep it looking attractive. (5 ft. height; 5 to 7 ft. spread).

Boxwood (Buxus spp.):
Boxwood has been a popular, broad-leaved evergreen for some time, particularly in eastern and southern U.S. where very old specimens can be found. Boxwoods make excellent specimen plants or hedges. They can be easily pruned to any desired shape. Of the available boxwood types, the Korean or littleleaf box is most hardy and easily grown. The leaves tend to lose color in winter; in shade, winter discoloring is less severe. The English boxwood is slow growing and intolerant of poor drainage.

Drooping Leucothoe (Leucothoe fontanesiana):
A slow-growing plant with spreading, arching branches and lustrous, dark-green leaves, it produces fragrant, bell-shaped flowers in early spring. It needs shade for best growth and is most suitable beneath large evergreens. It is related to pieris and requires the same growing conditions. (3 to 6 ft. height; equal spread).

Spreading Euonymus (Euonymus kiautschovicus):
Spreading euonymus was formerly known as Euonymus patens. It is evergreen in the south, but in colder areas leaves may turn brown in late winter and hang onto the plant until new leaves are produced in the spring. It grows well in full sun, but the leaves remain green longer if it gets winter shade. The fruit capsules open in the fall to reveal the bright-reddish seed that is an added attraction.
The two varieties of spreading euonymus most commonly grown are 'Manhattan,' a variety that retains good green winter color, and 'Pauli,' which is reported to retain green winter color even better than 'Manhattan.'

Hope one of these suggestions works for you!

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