THE GARDEN THAT LOOKS AFTER ITSELF
Ageless and EVERGREEN
Deciduous trees and shrubs give you the pleasure of watching them change through the seasons, but sweeping up fallen leaves and petals can be a chore. Evergreens do shed leaves, but a few at a time – and they offer structure throughout the year. 3 STYLISH EVERGREEN TREES
◆ Arbutus unedo, the strawberry tree, has it all – beautiful bark, dainty foliage, a sprinkling of flowers and curious bristly fruits that turn red in autumn.
◆ Pittosporum tobira brings a touch of the Mediterranean and honeyed scent to a warm, sheltered garden or courtyard.
◆ Holly always looks smart flanking a pathway or door. There are many brightly variegated forms, such as ‘Golden King’ or silvery Ilex aquifolium ‘Argentea Marginata’. 3 FLOWERING EVERGREEN SHRUBS
◆ Give a camellia the right spot – acid soil, out of the wind and morning sun – and it will flower every year with no attention at all. Plant it somewhere you can leave the flowers as they fall – not in grass or gravel.
◆ Abelia x grandiflora (AGM) makes a lovely old-fashioned cottage garden plant with its graceful arcs of foliage and mass of pink flowers that go on all summer. Grows big, but never overbearing. Dwarf versions with bright foliage are also available.
◆ For a more exotic look, try fast-growing Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’ with its pineneedle leaves and spidery red flowers from April to July. It loves a hot, dry, sunny position but is perfectly hardy, despite being native to Australia. 3 FRAGRANT EVERGREEN SHRUBS
◆ Choisya ternata was, for many years a garden favourite, with glossy, fragrant foliage and white flowers in May. Recently, it has been supplanted in many gardens by Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’, with brighter, more finely divided foliage.
◆ Sarcococca confusa, or Christmas box, is an unshowy small shrub that really earns its keep in winter – its tiny white flowers packing an astonishing punch in January and February. Plant it near the front door so you can enjoy the scent.
◆ If your soil is poor and dry, it’s crying out for rosemary. Try the more unusual prostrate form, Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’, which looks beautiful spilling over a terrace wall or flight of steps. GLORIOUS GRASSES Evergreen or deciduous, grasses are wonderfully undemanding. For evergreens, simply comb out spent stalks once a year, and chop back by half after a few years if they look tatty. Deciduous grasses just need chopping down in February before new growth starts. Visit knollgardens.co.uk to help choose the best varieties for you.
Choose Choisya ternata for its fragrant foliage
Exotic Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’ loves a dry spot
Camellias add a splash of early spring colour