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Go evergreen with your planting scheme

Diarmuid Gavin


These silent shrubs provide year-round structure for the garden, and there are many beautiful varieties to choose from

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Close-up of white flowers on a skimmia japonica bush

Close-up of white flowers on a skimmia japonica bush

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Purple diamond bush (Ruby loropetalum) in bloom. Also known as Chinese Fringe

Purple diamond bush (Ruby loropetalum) in bloom. Also known as Chinese Fringe

Getty Images

A single snowdrop [Galanthus]

A single snowdrop [Galanthus]

Getty Images

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Close-up of white flowers on a skimmia japonica bush

Evergreen shrubs often create the bones of a successful garden design. They purr along quietly in the background, providing a backdrop to the changing seasons of colourful bulbs, flowering shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants. When other plants go into winter hibernation, we start to notice their role and appreciate them a bit more for their presence and the definition and structure they provide throughout the year, but especially right now.

Whenever I am planting up a garden, I make sure to include a good amount of reliable but also beautiful evergreen shrubs. My rule of thumb is around one-third of your planting scheme can be evergreen — any more and it can become a bit overpowering. Their function can be varied, from creating hedging or parterres to disguising or distracting from eyesores. They can be chosen for beautifully scented flowers, colourful foliage or to introduce texture through leaf shapes. Here are some favourites which I often use:


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