Shrubs provide the middle levels of a herbaceous border, as they are often planted between taller trees and ground covers. Evergreen shrubs have the added benefit of anchoring these plantings with their year-long green color. Evergreens are not exclusively conifers, and some not only keep their green leaves throughout the winter but burst into flower in the spring and summer. For a truly interesting planting, use evergreens with deciduous shrubs. Mix shrubs with fine needles with those with broad leaves and diversify the shape of the shrubs. If the area’s dominated by low, round shrubs, a nice columnar plant brings variety. Here are a few evergreen shrubs:
Evergreen Azaleas-Evergreen azaleas are spreading shrubs that never grow above 6 1/2 feet tall. They have green, oval shaped leaves and flowers in brilliant reds, white or mauve. The famous Kurume azaleas are evergreens. They are also winter hardy, sometimes to - 13 degrees Fahrenheit. Like other azaleas, they love acid soil and part sun.
Bamboo Bamboo is a type of grass famous for its very rapid growth. One type of bamboo that grows relatively slowly is the Chusquea couleou, which forms lush thickets and has stems that are from 13 to 20 feet long, though they tend to arch over in a pleasing way. Other types of bamboo have more upright habits.Evergreen Camellias-Camellias like the C. reticulata are evergreen shrubs that produce spectacular pink to scarlet flowers in April and May. Like the azaleas, evergreen camellias also like acidic soil and part shade. Mugo Pine-Mugo is a staple of Japanese gardens. It is naturally a dwarf pine and grows out instead of up, with dense stiff branches and dark green, curved needles. A tough little shrub, it is excellent for planting in a coastal garden as it can tolerate the salt spray. It’s not fussy about soil and is drought-tolerant.