Autumn is far from being a time when things wind down, in fact it can be the most colourful season and one when Shrubs and Conifers excel…if you choose the right ones! The autumn shrub palette delivers reliable colour and really conjures the mellow, warm and glowing colours of the season. Take your pick from these easy to care for evergreens…
Leucothoe ‘Scarletta’ and ‘Rainbow’
Both of these varieties boast colour and interest all year round and are ideal for pots in winter or as groundcover when planted en-mass. The long, glossy leaves of ‘Scarletta’ emerge dark maroon, turning greener as they mature and then take on lovely bronze and wine tints in the autumn. ‘Rainbow’ turns to a bronze-red, mottled with cream and pink in autumn with marbled purple red tints in winter. Springtime brings small cream flowers, creating yet another dimension to this wonderful evergreen.
Leucothoe ‘Curly Red’
This splendid recent introduction is an ideal choice for a patio pot and will live happily in a shady spot. The attractive curly evergreen leaves turn purple red as it gets cooler. Needs planting in acid ericaceous compost.
Pieris ‘Little Heath’
Pieris are much admired for their whorled evergreen foliage, often edged with cream, with the tips of the foliage turning pink through the year. Bell-shaped, creamy flowers appear during spring to complete the deal. The compact habit of Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath’ makes it the ideal shrub for growing in patio pots. This dwarf variety grows to just 60cm in height and is easy to maintain, requiring minimal pruning. A lovely addition to borders and eye-catching patio containers.
Skimmia ‘Magic Marlot’
This handsome evergreen has lots of tricks up its sleeve. As well as its beautiful evergreen leaves with a glittering golden edge, it produces its flower buds in autumn when they sit amongst the leaves as white clusters. Through the winter months they mature to deep pink and open to thick white spikes of starry flowers in spring, wafting their scent around the garden.
Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’
This tough, little evergreen will offer something a little different to your garden with its bronze-purple flushed leaves. It also makes an unusual low maintenance hedge. Each spring it produces lime green new shoots, which darken over the season, and the following year are deep purple. Looks great planted with the red stems of Cornus.
Dwarf pines are now very popular with modern garden designers. ‘Wintergold’ is a stunning variety which turns from green to gold as the temperatures fall.
Podocarpus ‘Red Embers’
The light green summer foliage of Podocarpus ‘Red Embers’ becomes striking in winter with brick-red tips. An open habit with an irregular shape.
Chamaecyparis thyoides ‘Rubicon’
An easy evergreen with compact habit, changing from green to rich purple through the autumn.