Monty answers your questions
What goes on behind the scenes at Longmeadow, how does he tackle pernicious weeds and what are his big planting mistakes? Discover Monty’s answers to your most-asked questions
QWhat must-have evergreens would you suggest to give my garden structure through the winter? @winniethechoccylab Top marks for realising how important this is! The winter garden depends upon good evergreens, and I regard them as the most important plants in the garden at any time of year because they are the bones upon which all the floral ‘flesh’ hangs. Yew forms the best evergreen hedge as well as large topiary, and Irish yews are perfect for small gardens, making a bold statement without taking up much space. Ten years ago I would have said that box was essential, but the combination of box blight and box tree caterpillar make this less attractive. But if neither of these are present in your area, no plant is better for smaller hedges or topiary. Holly makes a fine tree, hedge and topiary, albeit in places where you will not brush against it. I like to use mahonia of all kinds in borders, and sarcococca, hebe, choisya, Portuguese laurel, viburnum, camellias, phillyrea, pittosporum, pyracantha, skimmia, euonymus and the magnificent Holm oak are all really good evergreen options – to name but a few.