Attractive Evergreens for Colorado Gardens
At the time of the Winter Solstice, we can be grateful for the evergreens in our Colorado gardens. Not every region of the temperate northern hemisphere can grow so many different beautiful plants with year-round presence.
There are so many evergreen (and eversilver, everblue, red and purple) hardy perennials, groundcovers, shrubs, herbs, and trees (and not just conifers!) we can grow here. They go above and beyond in their service as ornamental plants in all four seasons.
One of the factors that allows us this large palette is our semi-arid climate, cold but not extremely cold, with plenty of sunshine to melt snow quickly. Many of the plants that remain attractive here through winter are native to our western/southwestern region, like hardy Manzanita, Mahonia, Agave, Yucca, Artemisia, Mountain Mahogany, Cliff Rose, Monardella, Mojave Sage, Buckwheat, and Pussytoes. And many come from similar steppe and high desert regions on other continents, especially Central and Western Asia, high-altitude South Africa and Patagonia, as well as the Middle East and Mediterranean regions (think aromatic herbs – lavender, thyme, rue, sage, germander, santolina, oregano).
Here are a few winter photos and a long, but quite incomplete, list of tough plants that look great right through the winter!
Acantholimon, various species (Prickly Thrift)
Aethionema grandiflora (Lebanon Stonecress)
Agave parryi, A. havardiana, A. neomexicana (Century Plant)
Alyssoides graeca (Greek Bladderpod)
Alyssum oxycarpum, A. pateri
Arctostaphylos patula ‘Panchito’, A. coloradoensis ‘Chieftain’, A. uva-ursi
Aurinia saxatilis (Basket of Gold)
Bergenia cordifolia (Heartleaf Bergenia)
Buxus x Julia Jane, B. koreana microphylla
Cerastium tomentosum and C. candidissimum (Snow in Summer, Greek Snow in Summer)
Cercocarpus ledifolius (pictured above, left), C. intricatus (Curl-leaf and Little-leaf Mountain Mahogany)
Cowania mexicana (syn. Purshia stansburiana) Cliff rose
Cupressus arizonica (Arizona Cypress)
Cyclamen hederifolium, C. purpurascens
Dianthus petraeus noeanus, D. gratianapolitanus, and others
Delosperma nubigenum (Yellow Hardy Iceplant)
Delosperma Table Mountain / John Proffit
Digitalis stewartia (Stewart’s Foxglove)
Ephedra minima (Creeping Joint Fir), americana, viridis, equisitina, etc.
Eriogonum umbellatum aureum ‘Kannah Creek’ (Kannah Creek Buckwheat)
Euonymus fortunei Coloratus (Purple Leaf Wintercreeper)
Genista lydia (Dwarf Broom)
Geranium x ‘Tchelda’
Helianthemum (Sun Rose)
Helleborus foetidus, H. x orientalis, etc.
Iberis ‘Little Gem’
Iberis sempervirens (Evergreen Candytuft)
Lavandula lanata (Wooly Lavender)
Lavandula x ‘Lisa Marie’
Linum lewisii, L. narbonense, L., perenne (Blue Flax)
Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grapeholly)
Marrubium rotundifolium (Silver Heels Horehound)
Monardella macrantha ‘Marion Sampson’
Paxistima canbyi (Mountain Lover)
Penstemon fruticosa, P. davidsonii, P. glaber, P. richardsonii, P. pinifolius, P. linarioides, P. caespitosa, P. rostriflorus, etc.
Physaria bellii (Bell’s Twinpod)
Quercus turbinella (Turbinella oak, Shrub Live Oak)
Salvia pachphylla (Mojave Sage)
Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’
Seseli gummiferum (Moon Carrot)
Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears)
Tanacetum densum ‘Amani’ (Partridge Feather)
Teucrium sp. ‘Harlequin’s Silver’
Teucrium rotundifolium, T. chamaedys, T. cossonii
Veronica liwanensis (Turkish Veronica), V. oltensis (Thyme-leaf Veronica), V. Crystal River, and others
Vinca minor, V. major
Yucca, many species