Saturday, 19 January 2013

Evergreen Colour

Just a skittering of snow.
In our little enclave at the foot of the Pennines we seem to have escaped the worst of the snow, temperatures are around freezing but so far nothing dramatic. The birds have kept up a daily assault on the feeding station and, although we have had the female for a while, I actually saw the male Greater Spotted Woodpecker for the first time a couple of days ago, they both come for the fat-balls.  

The odd primrose is showing a solitary flower but, as you would expect, other than the winter-flowering shrubs, the only other colour is to be found in the evergreens.  

Elaeagnus ebbingei 'Limelight'
A member of the Elaeagnaceae family the Eleagnus are a genus of both hardy deciduous and evergreen shrubs with generally insignificant flowers which gets its name from the Greek: elaia-olive tree and agnos-willow like.The evergreen Elaeagnus ebbingei 'Limelight' is used as a stand alone shrub and also for hedging. It is a mainstay for commercial landscapers, being cheap to buy and relatively trouble free. Propagation is from fresh seed, semi-hardwood or hardwood cuttings or by layering or suckers.

Euonymus fortunei 'Harlequin'

Yes that is the well known thug
Houttuynia cordata 'Chameleon' creeping in to where it isn't wanted!

Euonymus japonicus 'Bravo'

Euonymus japonicus Aureopictus 'Luna' 
 A member of the Celastraceae Family possibly from the Greek: Euonyme, mother of the Furies. Euonymus is a genus of small variegated shrubs that prefer a sunny or only very lightly shaded position but are basically tolerant of most soils. Depending on variety they grow from around 1' to 4' and provide all year round colour. Any new growth which reverts to green must be removed. This genus is another mainstay of the commercial landscaper. Propagation can be from cold sown seed or cuttings taken from mature current year's growth in late summer.

Ilex aquifolium 'Gold Flash'

The Holly or Ilex is the only genus in the family Aquifoliaceae, the name Ilex is thought to have originated from the old Latin for the Evergreen or Holm Oak. This genus includes both evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees and is spread worldwide although we are more familiar with the traditional Christmas holly tree. Ilex aquifolium is tolerant of most soils and positions although it does not like to have its feet wet. It is generally dioecious, having separate male and female plants, although some self-fertile cultivars exist. Taking semi-hardwood cuttings seems to be the best method of propagation although like most plants they can be grown from seed but this is only if one has plenty of patience.

This is just a small selection of evergreen plants, basically ones that I grow. There are many others not least the heathers and conifers which were so popular 30 years ago but are now out of fashion. There is a move to re-establish interest but to be quite honest I have never been a fan of either so with the exception of a couple of small conifer specimens in pots and mature larch and cedar, whose shedding needles I curse every year, they are missing from my garden.

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