Seasonal Evergreens for Christmas
Seasonal evergreens for Christmas include bay laurel, rosemary, holly and ivy.
They all have their place at this time of the year but I do wonder if we sometimes forget how valuable they are in gardens. They are all key plants in a winter garden as far as I’m concerned.
But there are plenty of other seasonal evergreens for Christmas.
It’s worth remembering this with the headlong rush that’s focused on Christmas trees, presents and turkey.
We’ve had a good autumn and as I write there’s still some colour in the garden.
These late performers are doing their bit before they drop their leaves and hunker down to endure the winter that is to come.
Some, such as those with coloured stems, wait until now to be at their best. I’ve written previously about these here.
But evergreen shrubs, and in some cases ever-greys, will see us through to spring. These will be centre stage from now until early May.
A few, such as Mahonia, are in full flower at this time of the year and many are strongly scented.
Holly and ivy have that inseparable link with Christmas and the New Year.
They, and other evergreens, gave our forebears the hope that the sun would return again after dipping close to the horizon for the many dark weeks of winter. This is why they were especially revered!
Of course, there are many great evergreens that we can grow – some providing colour throughout the year and others so useful to provide privacy.
But topiary trained bay laurel, box, olive and holly all add style.
They also add structure to a garden whether it’s a cottage garden or has more formal style!
With a few subtle lights and bows these standard trees or balls can be instantly transformed into truly festive statements!
Potted Evergreens for Christmas
If you have a large empty pot or two, why not create an instant seasonal display outside your front door with a half standard bay tree or olive as the centre piece?
Plant these slightly off centre so that they are nearer the back than the front.
At their feet plant some winter box [Sarcococca], Skimmia, and a winter flowering heather. If there’s still space a Christmas rose [Helleborous niger] is a sure fire winner!.
Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ or ‘Rubesta’ are very good forms to use. They have showy red flower buds throughout winter. Come spring and warmer days those buds open into scented blooms that bees love!
Other suggestions for a festive doorstep pot include miniature cyclamen, winter cherry plant [Solanum pseudocapsicastrum], rosemary and the beautiful silver veined Italian arum Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’.
Potting Compost or Temporary
There is no need to worry too much about the potting compost that you use for this project. That is unless you plan to leave these plants in the pot for more than just the winter season.
If you do plan to leave the plants in the pot for next summer too, then I would recommend you use soil based potting compost. I also recommend you add Osmocote fertiliser to the top of the pots in spring. This will feed them steadily as you water your plants.
However if you want the same pots to fill with summer blooms then you will need to think about where these winter pot filling plants are going to grow on in your borders.
All will make great additions to borders and, with the exception of heathers, rosemary and olives, will do well in the shade of other plants in the garden. Bear in mind that heather, rosemary and olives do best in full sun.
And if you are feeling really creative cut a few twigs about 30-40 cm long. Spray paint them with white paint and, when dry, stick them in among your lower evergreen plants to really bring your festive pots alive!
And if that’s not festive enough for you then add a small string of pin prick LED white lights that can be battery powered!
I’ve shared my experiences of visiting gardens filled with colour at this time of the year such as the Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon.
Birch can make a magic contribution to gardens in winter. I visited a fantastic collection of these beautiful trees on the edge of Dartmoor. Read about it here.