Many plants lose their leaves in fall and winter, but evergreen trees continue to add interest, color and texture to the garden. Despite the generic name, they are rarely just green. Some may even change color with the seasons, presenting shades of misty blue, rich gold, glowing red and moody grey, with leaves varying in shape from finely tapered conifer needles to lush, exotically swaying palm fronds.
Certain evergreen trees have flowers, some bear fruit, others have attractively shaped cones, decorative seeds, nuts and dramatically colored or textured bark. Evergreen conifers may also have a delicious, aromatic fragrance which will waft across the garden.
If you're also searching for the best trees for small gardens, you'll be able to find an evergreen tree to suit your space as they come in a huge array of sizes. There are dwarf varieties which may only top three feet (1m), but you'll also find vast, lofty trees whose ultimate height is 300ft (100m). There are also evergreen trees to suit harsh winters, exposed conditions and dry climates, often adding a feature to the most barren of landscapes.
The most difficult thing about evergreen trees is probably making the initial selection for your garden from a long list. If in doubt, ask for advice from a local garden center or nursery who will be familiar with the growing conditions for your region.
According to the RHS, evergreen trees have many advantages. 'They are great for creating privacy and shelter, and cope in a variety of soil types and situations. They are particularly valuable in winter, providing a green highlight when most other plants have died back or are reduced to bare stems.'
So whether you want to squeeze a single evergreen in a pot by the back door, or prefer to plant a big tree in a forever garden, our selection has all the options covered.
By Fiona Cumberpatch