Conifers Gardening Shrubs

A Few Good Plant Choices

Boxwood Green Velvet (Buxus Green Velvet™). Photo:

The following article was adapted from a press release by Handpicked for You® as prepared by the team of horticulture experts at Sheridan Nurseries in Ontario. Handpicked for You® specializes in “reliable plants for home gardeners,” plants that are disease resistant, low maintenance and zone hardy. 

Boxwoods are cherished landscape plant with year-round deep green color, deer resistance and, in some cases, superior hardiness. In 1973, Sheridan Nurseries introduced Green Velvet boxwood (Buxus Green Velvet™) that has bright green new growth which provides great contrast against perennials. In 1975, Buxus Green Mountain was introduced and is cherished for requiring minimal pruning to make a formal pyramid shape. Both are hardy in Canadian/USDA zones 4 to 9 and grow well in shade or sun.

Annabelle hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’). Photo:

Annabelle hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’) has massive white snowball-like blooms that make a breathtaking display in any garden or landscape design. It flowers on new wood, so even hard freezes won’t hold this plant back. Flower clusters will appear in late spring to summer and will reach up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. The stems may need a bit of staking to hold the blooms up to show off every inch of beauty. Ideal for sun or partial sun locations. Zones 3 to 9.

Miss Kim lilac (Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’). Photo:

Miss Kim lilac (Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’) is a slower growing lilac with dazzling purple buds that open to light-lavender fragrant blooms in May or June. Prune after flowering to keep the plant more compact. Most lilacs are enjoyed as a spring plant, but the foliage of Miss Kim turns burgundy red in autumn. Plant in an area that receives full sun. Zones 3 to 8.

Yucca Color Guard (Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’). Photo:

Sometimes we need a plant to thrive drought tolerant areas with at least some tolerance of cold winters. Yucca Color Guard (Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’) adds architectural shape, structure, and color to containers and beds in sunny areas. The long green and yellow leaves are striking, and white flowers bear a dramatic contrast midsummer, although it doesn’t flower every year. Great for rock gardens, erosion control, mass plantings, and areas that receive coastal exposure. Zones 5 to 10.

Dwarf Japanese juniper (Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’). Photo: Rašo, Wikimedia Commons

Junipers are one of our favorite coniferous plants to add year-round interest. Dwarf Japanese juniper (Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’) thrives in areas that receive partial to full sun. Bright green growth emerges from the center and deepens to a blue-green as it matures. In winter, the plant will have a purplish tinge that contrasts greatly against snow. This juniper is better left unpruned and will cascade down slopes or can be staked upright. Zones 4 to 9.

Blue Chip juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’). Photo:

If you’re looking for a juniper to cascade over walls and that grows in rocky, sandy soil, we love to recommend Blue Chip juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’). This conifer is prized for its green-blue foliage. The species is native to regions in Alaska, Canada, and northern U.S. such as Wyoming and Montana. Zones 2-9.

2 comments on “A Few Good Plant Choices

  1. Hey, I just wrote about how and why I dislike modern cultivars of old classics. You somehow found some cool ones to feature, and some are not even new. In fact, both junipers are two that I think should be popular again. The boxwood has been around long enough to no longer be new. ‘Annabelle’ just happens to be cool too, something that I think is rare in hydrangeas. (Hydrangeas were the examples I used for overly bred plants.) In our region, yuccas really should be more popular. (!!!) The only one that I am not so keen on is the lilac, and that is only because I dislike it, not because there is actually anything wrong with it.

  2. Some brilliant plant choices! Lovely blog photos too, the blue chip juniper is gorgeous.

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