Decisions, Decisions: Choosing An Evergreen In The Landscape

By Amy Grant | December 18, 2020
by Amy Grant
December 18, 2020

If you have read my blog before, then you know I live in the Pacific Northwest. No, not in Seattle (anymore) but the other side of the state, the side with wide temperature swings. Regardless, it will come as some surprise to some of you that I have nary a single evergreen in the landscape.

It isn’t that I dislike evergreens in the garden; in fact, they are fabulous additions, especially when fall has come and gone and everything else in the landscape is bare. They add nice living green color (or gold or blue) when all the other plants are arrayed in varying dirty hues, and they give some height and backbone to a garden.

Choosing an Evergreen Isn’t Easy

So why have I not included at least one specimen? It’s simple. I can’t make up my mind. There are so many fabulous evergreen plants out there, but because the footprint of our yard is small, I need to be mindful of size, as well as where I will be planting it – a small rocky garden.

Take the ‘Goldspire’ ginkgo tree, for instance. It boasts stunning gold toned leaves, hardy to my region and fall into the category of smaller evergreen trees, 5-6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m.). I also love the weeping deodar cedar ‘Feelin Blue.’ As the name suggests, it has blue needles. It grows to a height of about 4-6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 m.) with the wonky habit of a deodar. I am definitely feeling this one since apparently it can be grown in a container too”¦just another option.

In my area, the most popular evergreen is arborvitae, but I don’t want to grow a hedge. I’m looking for a standalone specimen plant. I love a weeping Blue Atlas, but this is one evergreen that will grow too large for my purposes. Another tree popular in my region is the blue spruce and actually there is a dwarf variety that only grows to about 10 feet (3 m.) in height.

As you can tell, I simply have not made a decision yet. There are so many options out there that it is overwhelming. If I had more acreage this wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m not moving anytime soon, so I need to stop being indecisive and pick one”¦or two.

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