Excellent Evergreens in the Enclosed Garden

Walking along the garden path in early December, I notice most of the world has fallen asleep. The last leaves have gone past and are ready to drop, the air gives a slight burning sensation to my lungs, and the hollow forest gives way to sightlines across the property. It would be true to say the world lacks the beauty it had even a couple of weeks before, but beauty once hidden in plain sight now sticks out, a diamond in the rough.



Longstalk Holly (Ilex pedunculosa) making its presence felt.

As I stroll down through the Enclosed Garden, I notice a forgotten friend. Longstalk Holly (Ilex pedunculosa) shines bright with a wonderful green luster. A tall shrub with pear-like leaves on long bending branches, it has a unique shape and wonderful earth brightening color that make this plant a can’t miss when the deciduous season is over. Native to Asia, Longstalk Holly is not as commonly planted as many of its holly-family cousins (Aquifoliaceae), making this plant all the more awe-inspiring when it takes the spotlight in the winter.

Light trickles through the dense foliage of the Cherry Laurel (Prunus luarocerasus).

As I continue through the Enclosed Garden, I cannot help but notice another interesting evergreen. With a dark, glossy green impossible to miss, Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) makes me forget, just for a moment, that winter is upon us. Endemic to much of southern Europe and western Asia, Cherry Laurel is at its northernmost range here in Blithewold. Despite this, we have some impressive specimens, one reaching over 10 feet tall (they usually reach only 8 feet in cultivation). As I walk by, I’m impressed at the purity of coloration, the dense foliage, and the little yellow buds that will produce beautiful upright flower clusters come May.


Beautiful Cherry Laurel specimens in the morning sunlight.