For a dense evergreen tree in a classic Christmas tree shape, Serbian spruce is the best fit for central Indiana. The needles have thin white stripes that give the tree a faint white-ish cast from a distance for a softer look. They work well as focal points, or in groups to form a living barrier.
Winter is upon us, and the world outside our windows has become a lot more grey and dreary. When we approach a new design, it is not at all unusual for the client to request that we include plants that will look interesting all year round. For most, their mind will automatically turn to evergreens, but there are so many more plants that can light up the winter landscape in other ways.
Evergreen plants are the backbone of designs built to stun in all seasons. They provide the reliable structure to keep things from looking bare and help highlight the spots of color and texture that other plants like beautyberry and paperbark maple provide. We love to use boxwoods for this purpose. They do much better in our soils than a lot of other evergreens, and their ability to be sheared or grown naturally allow us to make all kinds of interesting artistic decisions with them.
December's plant of the month fits two niche categories: it's an evergreen that thrives in shade, and it's an evergreen native to Indiana. Meet Eastern Hemlock! In addition to its value as an evergreen for shade, eastern hemlock is also beloved for its light and delicate texture, complete with adorable little pine cones less than an inch long. This gorgeous conifer grows naturally in wooded areas throughout northeastern North America. In Indiana, you can find it happily looking over cliffs and valleys in some of our parks.
The quick answer? Probably not. If you have arborvitae (or other evergreens), you may notice a lot of browning on interior needles this time of year. The good news is that your arborvitae is not dying, it's just time for fall needle loss (most likely anyway - but more on that later). Most conifers drop some amount of old needles in the fall, so if there has been brown on your spruces and pines as well in the past month, they are probably also fine.