Get Your Garden Project Started With These Perennials, Natives and Evergreens
Story and photos by Joshua Kornegay, owner of Joshua’s Native Plants & Garden Antiques
Springtime is when many folks really start gardening again. The nurseries are full and nature herself is waking up all over. Take a look at some of our “must have” plants for 2020 gardening projects.
We recommend incorporating evergreens into any landscaping plans. These are the “bones” of the garden and will form the basis for year-round structure. Who wants a garden looking like a graveyard after a freeze? Evergreens can flank a walkway, frame a house or just be a reliable screen or border for your property.
One of our top picks is the Blue Point Juniper that will grow to six or eight feet in height and maintains a clean, pyramidal shape, similar to a Christmas tree.
Mahonia fortunei also is a great evergreen for sun or shade. It will only grow to four feet in height and is perfect for tight, narrow spaces; plus, it blooms clusters of yellow spikes at its top.
Ardisia crenata, or Christmas berry, works well as an 18-inch mounding shrub for borders that get only a half day of sun. It will sport little red berry clusters during the winter.
Elaeagnus, also known as Olive Martini™, is a thick evergreen shrub that will work in larger areas. This variegated beauty makes a perfect screen at ten feet in height and can grow to ten feet in width. Just hedge it to suit your needs. In the fall, look for small white blooms that are fragrant.
Another evergreen shrub is the Green Mound juniper; it’s a favorite for a classy, low border.
New on the scene is the Eureka Gold™ yaupon, an evergreen that grows as a two- or three-foot mound with chartreuse leaves that will make any garden pop.
For a tried and true classic, try the camellia. These sasanqua varieties are much easier to grow than the japonica species. Sizes range from the shorter red blooming Yuletide (about a five foot mound) to much larger ten foot varieties. Count on these for dependable blooms in the winter.
Larger plant species can dominate a garden but some people only want one or two plants to care for. For easy maintenance, the Cassia splendida is a rugged showstopper that will grow from six to ten feet in height and width, if it isn’t pruned. It stays covered in golden blooms from Halloween to New Year’s Day and is a host plant for sulphur butterflies.
Some other perennial Texas wildflowers that are low care while also attractive to butterflies include the white gaura, the colorful Mexican hat, and the purple coneflower.
In fact, you’ll never go wrong with perennials. They might freeze back in the winter but you can always count on them to return and emerge again in the spring. They’re low care, require less work, and will save you money in the long run. Also, choosing indigenous plants is a big plus. For example, the perennial prairie aster is a great rugged local and a major show off every fall, and there are dozens and dozens of choices from which to choose. Remember, work less, enjoy more!
Joshua’s Native Plants & Garden Antiques, Inc. can be found at 502 West 18th, 713-862-7444, www.joshuasnativeplants.net