people have that tricky area of the garden that doesn’t get much sunlight, and today I’m going to be showing you some great ways to fill that dark area with some fantastic evergreen shrubs. The first one I’m going to recommend is a great option for the back of the border; this’ll give you plenty of height and it’s also got year-round interest, because you’ve got your white flowers in the summer and you’ve got berries in the autumn.
This can also go in any kind of soil as well; so if you’ve got clayey soil it’s also fine in that, very adaptable, doesn’t need much maintenance, you can prune it as and when you want; just be aware that it is a thorny shrub so if you’ve got little kids running around that might not be a good choice for you. Now, the next one I’d like to recommend is a Camellia, now this is a very popular shrub, and the glossy dark green foliage really reflects the light well and you’ve also got some stunning early flowers which look really nice and brighten upthat shady area. Now it does go in acidic compost best so I’d recommend planting it in some ericaceous compost just to get the best out of it. Now the next one I particularly like is a Nandina domestica; now this is also called Heavenly Bamboo, but it’s not related to bamboo at all really. It’s got wonderfully delicate foliage, but it’s actually a lot tougher than it looks and it’ll withstand our winters just fine.
The main aspect of this that’s interesting is the dark red foliage, just really a burst of colour in the shade and it’s also got really feathery white flowers in the summer; a real delicate touch to it. Again this will do best in acidic soil, so again get some of that ericaceous compost just to plant this up, but this will really go nicely in the middle of the border, just around 3 – 4 foot high, just give you that movement when the wind does come through as well. Now a good partner to the Nandina domestica is another plant called Leucothoe, now this is a lovely compact shrub and it shares much of the appeal of the Nandina because you’ve got that bright red foliage on the top then in the summer you’ve got these racemes of white flowers; it’ll just fill all of the branches, just really give that bit of extra colour.
Now both the Leucothoe and the Nandina do like acidic compost so yet again ericaceous compost is what you’ll be needing to use to get the best out of both of these shrubs.But this is a really low maintenance one, doesn’t need any pruning as such, you could just let it grow and it will remain compact and be that great shrub for the middle of that border. Right. The next shrub is a nice compact one that’s going to grow a bit smaller.
This is Kalmia latifolia, now it’s a more unusual shrub and it’s a late spring flowerer so it’s going to be blooming from around end of May and definately into June. It flowers from early summer and it’s got these wonderfully patterned flowers, which are quite unique and this is going to be coming into flower just as shrubs like rhododendrons are finishing, so it makes a nice summer interest. The foliage is very tough, so it’ll withstand a windy spot and it’s going to be a great option just for that lower part of your border in the front.
It does prefer acidic compost, which seems to be a recurring theme with these plants, so again ericaceous compost is the best for this plant. Right the next one I’d like to look at is a scented shrub, now this is Sarcocca or also known as Sweet Box or Christmas Box and it’s a great shrub which is not going to get more than a couple of foot high; evergreen, tough foliage and it’s also got these lovely fragrant white flowers just after Christmas. So this is great for putting just at the front of the border where you walk past and get that lovely scent coming through. Now lastly a great option for some ground cover is your Vinca or Periwinkle as it’s also known.
Now this particular variety ‘Illumination’ has lovely variegated foliage, nice bright colour that’s really going to give a lift to that dark area, and the blue flowers in summer, absolutely covered in them and it looks really great. This needs nothing more than just moist soil, but it will go in any soil and that’ll be just fine as long as it’s not going to dry out. So, there we go, we’ve got a great variety of evergreen shrubs for shade that offer year round interest in terms of foliage and flower and they also offer a variety of heights from your tall shrubs right down to your small shrubs.
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