Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.
Evergreens are easily overlooked in summer when they have to compete for attention against the distractions of colorful blooms and the diverse foliage of the surrounding deciduous trees and shrubs. In winter, when much of the garden is bare, they take center stage.
Ilex opaca ‘Clarendon’ (a low, spreading form of American holly) is a perfect case in point. There are several fine specimens in the Shade Border and, despite their size and lustrous foliage, they merge into the shadows during the growing season but now, set against a monochrome background and illuminated by the winter sun, they stand out beautifully. In this next shot, we’re looking west towards Wave Hill House.
A walk through the garden at this time of year reveals just how important evergreens are to the landscape. It is no wonder that many cultures have revered them as a sign of the continuity of life in the depths of winter.