Dark olive-green color in the snowy cold winter is possible with an evergreen or two in your landscape. Using a few evergreens to fill a corner or create a screen is common and can be a great addition to an acreage. But using them in the city is another thing. Some evergreens stay on the smaller side and are narrower to fit in tighter spaces and still provide great foliage color. In this article I’ll discuss a few great compact species of Evergreen and how to use them effectively in the landscape.
Colorado Blue Spruces are a common evergreen species grown for their bright blue color and uniform shape. But what happens frequently is they succumb to disease and overwatering in our wetter warmer climate. Eastern Nebraska doesn’t have rocky arid slopes that they are used to and thus usually never experience a healthy life. I use an alternative to it called ‘Bruns’ Serbian Spruce. The Serbian Spruce has a similar blue color, narrow upright habit, and can take more rain and heat than the Colorado Blue Spruce. Serbian Spruces are native to Europe yet do excellent in our climate too. They are much more adaptable which is a requirement to live in Nebraska and can tolerate a wide range of conditions.
Now that you have selected a Serbian Spruce for your yard, whats next? Using evergreens to screen or protect is a great use for these towering trees. Growing a line of 5 or 7 Serbian Spruces along a fence line to protect from the harsh winds would be an excellent choice, but I would also suggest a few more things to mix in. ‘Vanderwolf’ Pyramid Pines and ‘Taylor’ Junipers are other upright evergreens that can be used to provide a windbreak or screen and are great to use as a mix-in. Using all of the same species can be devastating if a disease or pest wipes them out. Diversity is a great thing in a screen and evergreens are no exception.
To plant in front of the evergreens, there are a variety of shrubs and perennials that really stand out. Using plants with good blooms, unique textures, or variegation provide stunning contrast to the dark dense foliage of evergreens. Plants like ‘Ivory Halo’ Dogwood, Hydrangeas, and Ornamental Grasses all provide a great diverse landscape bed. Using evergreens as the stage and curtains, while the shrubs and perennials steal the show are what designing landscapes is all about.