Most gardeners groan at the thought of shrubs, especially evergreen ones, it’s true that they don’t have the obvious glamour of other types plants like prairie-planting or scented roses, but I’m a big fan of them, and here’s why.
They’re make a good structural shape for the whole year and give any garden border a strong back-bone that you can plant around.
Not only that, but evergreen shrubs need hardly any attention, and this particular one has glossy leaves, scented flowers in winter which is great for pollinating insects when flowers are hard to find, and birds like the berries that follow.
A garden stuffed with evergreens will look very dull, but planted alongside herbaceous plants and bulbs, the picture changes with different plants appearing through the seasons.
The thing that really makes an evergreen shrub more interesting is trimming the lower side-branches away at the base, it shows off the shapely stems and stops it looking too blob-like. It also makes extra space for small bulbs like crocuses and low growing plants.
I’m in good company with this view of evergreen shrubs, Fergus Garrett uses shrubs as a foil for all the planting fire-works at Great Dixter.
Mahonia vital statistics:
there are lots of different Mahonias, this one didn’t have a label, but I think it’s Mahonia x media Charity, which eventually grows to 4metres tall,
Mahonias prefer to grow in semi-shade but can cope with sun, and aren’t fussy about what soil they grow in.
It’s on my plant-list.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson