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Tue, April 23

Evergreen shrubs add color to small gardens
Plenty of thick bushes out there are quite colorful characters

Mugho pines are perfect for confined spaces with their dense, symmetrical growth and compact, rounded form. (Courtesy)

Mugho pines are perfect for confined spaces with their dense, symmetrical growth and compact, rounded form. (Courtesy)

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Blue Star Juniper

When you think of small evergreen shrubs, do you have an image in your mind of small, rather uninteresting lumps of green dotting a landscape? Well, you shouldn’t. There are plenty of thick bushes out there that are quite colorful characters. It is just a matter of knowing which grow best in the mountains of Arizona.

Here is my list of short showy shrubs with ample color that feature you and your home with unique evergreen colors.

Blue Star Juniper

Blue Star juniper (Juniperus squamata “Blue Star”) is strictly a foliage plant. If you like the look of, for example, blue spruce trees but lack the room for something so big, merely scale down and grow a Blue Star Juniper. With their short blue needles, they look especially good when planted next to shrubs with golden foliage.

Dwarf English Boxwood

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Dwarf English Boxwood

This is a small, rounded evergreen shrub that forms tufts of growth resembling a cloud if left upruned. The slow-growing, dwarf form is ideal for edging and borders along pathways or around flower beds. Well-suited for topiary and containers. Considered to be the most resistant to the boxwood leaf miner.

Eichholz Cotoneaster

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Eichholz Cotoneaster

A very low-growing, wide-spreading groundcover with highly ornamental berries. Glossy, bright green leaves provide rich autumn color as they turn to gold to orange-red. Small white spring flowers develop into showy red fruit in fall.

Euonymus “Emerald ‘N’ Gold”

The next three compact bushes on the list are all types of euonymus. The three have something

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Euonymus “Emerald ‘N’ Gold”

else in common, too: Each of these evergreen bushes exhibits some sort of variegation in its leaves. The name of the first entry describes its bicolored leaves pretty well: They are, indeed, emerald (at the center) and gold (at the margin).

Indian Hawthorn

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Indian Hawthorn

Easy-to-grow evergreen shrub produces huge clusters of fragrant, pearl-pink flowers. Perfect for planting along driveways and parking medians where reflected heat is an issue. This spring blooming evergreen loves Arizona heat.

Gilt Edge Silverberry

A splendid Arizona native with a combination of golden-yellow margins on bright green foliage

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Gilt Edge Silverberry

provides wonderful year-round interest in the landscape. A superb hedge or low screen that tolerates heat and wind, and requires little maintenance. Tiny, fragrant, silvery fall flowers are followed by ornamental red fruit.

Mugho Pine

This dwarf pine is perfect for confined spaces with its dense, symmetrical growth and compact, rounded form. Blue-green spring and summer foliage takes on a golden hue during colder months. Its slow growth habit makes this evergreen ideal as a specimen in smaller gardens, or massed to make a bold statement in larger landscapes.

Yucca

When the plants are massed together they form an impressive display during their blooming period. But the types with golden foliage (such as “Garland’s Gold” and “Golden Sword”) are a

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Yucca

better choice if you want something colorful, because they provide bright color even when not in bloom.

Winter Heaths

Many first-time growers of these small evergreen shrubs become quickly impressed with them, and this article passes along growing information on them under the assumption that you, too will come to enjoy their sizeable blooming period if you decide to grow one. Winter heaths (Erica x darleyensis) live up to their name, putting out flowers in that most unlikely of seasons: Wintertime. If the climate and conditions are right for them, they may end up flowering for about half the year for you.

Until next week, I’ll be helping gardening friends here at Watters Garden Center.

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his website at WattersGardenCenter.com or FB.com/WattersGardenCenter.

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