Exploring Evergreen Gardening Choices | Residence + Backyard


Korean Gold Plum Yew.

Evergreens are the backbone of the garden.

Broad-leaved specimens such as rhododendrons, camellias and barberries, as well as evergreen conifers such as firs, pines and cedars prevent the home garden from completely disappearing in winter. It distinguishes the Northwest from areas with little rainfall and temperatures below freezing. We have an embarrassment of evergreen riches. Let’s explore a few options for the garden.

The spreading Japanese plum yew

Unlike the wagonwheel tree, the spreading Japanese plum yew, Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata’, is the wild child. It’s often called a problem-solving evergreen because it tolerates shade, sun, heat, and drought, and spreads easily under trees and around foundations. It grows to 2 to 3 feet and spreads to 4 feet. It’s the perfect tall groundcover or short hedge. The spreading Japanese plum yew suppresses weeds and has typical soft yew needles. It gives fresh looking dark greens all year round and is easy to grow.


The Wagon Wheel Tree

This small evergreen tree/shrub (Trochodendron araloides) has whorls of leaves and ‘petalless’ yellow-green flowers in spring. It’s slow growing, so it does well in a container. It’s solitary too – the only one of its kind. Its glossy leaves look fresh all year round and it’s often referred to as “architectural” for its majestic, layered silhouette. This plant is also beautifully symmetrical: each shoot has five shoots with leaves of the same length. It is a well-organized, layered, small tree. Now is the time to find it and pre-order it. Worth it.


Tiny Space Gardening: Growing Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs in Small Outdoor Spaces by Amy Pennington

In Seattle-based Go Go Green Garden owner Amy Pennington’s new book, Tiny Space Gardening: Growing Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs in Small Outdoor Spaces, she shares the basics of gardening in pots and containers and recommendations for edibles to grow in small Good growing containers and windowsill and countertop projects for beginners.

“Forget the 100 Mile Eat Local Diet; Try the 300-square-foot diet and grow squash on the windowsill, flowers in the planter, or corn in a park lane. Tiny space gardening describes how to create a garden in the heart of the city,” says Pennington’s website.

Pennington also includes 30 recipes for readers to make with their harvest — from zucchini fritters to herbed pasta with lettuce and prosciutto to rosy strawberry buttermilk cake. Sasquatch Books | $22.95