A sunny winter day is the perfect time to scour the Arnold Arboretum for evergreen plants. I was there last weekend and I went from green shrub to green shrub. I photographed each and then its ID plaque/plate. Once I got home, I tried to figure out which plants might be useful for my own garden.
Here's what I found:
Ilex pedunculosa aka Longstalk Holly Zone 5 One of the hardiest of the evergreen hollies. Grows about 15 feet tall. I'll need a male and a female. It was used near the entrance to the Visitor's Center. I will keep on a list.
Berberis julianae 'Nana' aka Wintergreen Barberry Probably hardy to Zone 5. Very nice long foliage. It gets a nice bronzy-red foliage in winter but is susceptible to leaf burn in windy conditions. Major league spines. 'Nana' grows to 5 feet. It doesn't appear to be invasive. On the maybe list.
Ilex glabra aka Inkberry Zone 5 I have tried this one before, without a lot of success. A native holly, looks great at the Arnold. Some sources say that it might be a bit fussy about moisture so I don't think I will try again.
Ilex ciliospinosa x aquifolium x pernyi 'September Gem' Zone A Triple cross holy. It had really beautiful foliage. I didn't think the habit was particularly nice. It looks like 6 so probably not in the running.
Ilex aquifolium aka English Holly. Zone 6ish. It looks a lot like the previous plant in habit. I think hardiness makes it a no.
Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken' Cherry Laurel Zone 6. This plant was very pretty and I think its lack of hardiness explains why I am not very familiar with it. Sad to say probably won't be happy in NH.
Ilex crenata 'Helleri' Japanese Holly Zone 5 or 6 depending on who you read. I have been toying with trying a Japanese holly for a while. This cultivar only grows to about 4 feet. There may be a place for a hardy cultivar in woodland garden because it can tolerate shade.
Rhododendron carolinianum x laetevirens 'Waltham' Zone 5 Looks like it would be hardy (-20F) can handle dry shade. Low growing. Pink flowers in May. R. carolinianum is a hardy native. My neighbor has R. x laetevirens or Wilson Rhododendron in her garden. It is really tough and has nice foliage. The flowers are pretty subtle so maybe 'Waltham' would be worth a try in the woodland garden.
Ilex aquifolium 'Blue Prince' Same as the English Holly above. Probably not hardy enough.
I am still on the lookout for some evergreens in my woodland garden but Ilex pedunculosa, Berberis julianae 'Nana', Ilex crenata, and Rhododendron carolinianum x laetevirens 'Waltham' have gotten my attention. My search for a nice evergreen in the woodland has not ended. If anyone has some suggestions, I'd love to hear them!