Evergreens: The long-term assets

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For making wreaths to outdoor decorations to table top arrangements, evergreens, with little doubt, provide the most generously used live material – especially during the holiday season; it is no surprise, therefore, that garden centers sell fresh cut greens at this time of the year and that  garden clubs organize “greens sale” as one of their projects.

Speaking of garden clubs, the other day, as I began preparing for the meeting of the club I belong to, the rainy, cold weather wasn’t very encouraging to step out to gather evergreens for exhibiting in the horticulture category and for making an arrangement in the design category. My reluctance, setting aside the weather factor, was also based on the fact that in the past, we have not planned our yards from long-term perspective; in other words, we haven’t made a conscious effort to grow a variety of evergreens. But despite my skepticism, I am thankful for the ones we have, including the English Boxwoods, our foundation shrubs. So, though with no intention of bragging about myself, I thought it will be worthwhile to highlight some of our evergreen shrubs and trees and why I wouldn’t want to be without them. The order is arbitrary:

Camellias: These handsome shrubs flaunt not only glossy, long-lasting foliage but spectacular flowers from fall through the middle of winter; depending upon the species, a much-welcome sight at a time when few plants are in bloom. I find the branches of the “Sasanqua” type ideal line material for making arrangements.

Poet’s Laurel: A must-have shrub in the garden because of its artistic growth habit and the prized emerald-green foliage; what’s even more enchanting about Poet’s Laurel are the orange-red berries the plants bear in fall. And, cut branches last a very long time in a vase.

Osmanthus, also called tea olive:  Seems like I am always caught off-guard by the delightful fruity fragrance the tiny flowers emit during the bloom period.  

Dwarf False Cypress:  Started from a four-inch pot, but now almost up to my knees, this evergreen has surpassed my expectation by growing in adverse conditions in a neglected corner of the yard. The plant has a natural mounding growth pattern in addition to the lovely airy foliage.

Eucalyptus: Faithful is the word that comes to my mind when I think of the eucalyptus, our pride and joy. Since considered borderline hardy around here, we are indeed fortunate to be able to use, as well as share the branches with others.   

Magnolias: Last but not the least, are the two adorable Teddy Bear magnolias we have in our front yard. As the name says, these  magnolias are much smaller in size, hence perfect if space is limited. Also, the undersides of the leaves are darker brown and fuzzier which makes them even more attractive. Overall, any kind of magnolia leaves add a Williamsburg-style charm to any holiday decoration.

Happy Holidays!

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