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Q: We’re re-planting the area in front of our duplex and would like to find an evergreen bush no more than six feet tall with some nice colour touches that can manage in the heat and tolerate some drying out. Any suggestions?
First of all, the planting area for the evergreen bush you choose should be prepared by amending the soil with a mix of organic materials, peat moss and bone meal to help the plants get established. During the first year keep the area well watered and topdress the soil with a mulch to help retain moisture.
Depending on the size of your front planting area, you may choose one of the following:
Narrow, bamboo-like leaves in shades of green, red and orange; various growing heights and widths; easy to prune and shape; drought tolerant once established. Add to this area by planting the Nandina towards the rear. Front plant the area with groups of sun-tolerant blue hostas, Bergenia cordifolia ‘Bressingham Ruby’, or Juniper squamata ‘Blue Star’.
Large leaves with shiny green and bright-yellow blotches; grows 1.8 m (6 ft.) tall and wide; easy to prune; drought tolerant once established. Add to this area by planting the Aucuba to the rear. Front plant the area with groups of Festuca ovina ‘Blue Fox’, Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ or Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’.
Narrow green leaves with colourful new growth; fragrant bellflower clusters in spring; varied growth patterns depending on variety; easy to prune and shape. Add to this area by planting the Pieris to the rear. Front plant with groups of Ajuga repens ‘Burgundy Glow’, Lavandula stoechas ‘Anouk’ or Erica carnea ‘Springwood Pink’.
By using any of the suggested evergreens above, your new planter will look bright, fresh and full of colour year round.