- Corkscrew Arborvitae Thuja "Emerald Green" Spiral What a charming statement this twirling evergreen makes in the landscape. Its lush, bright- green, fern-like foliage has a tight pyramidal habit and reaches a height of 10 to 12 feet. A slow grower, your Emerald Green will not grow out of its design for quite some time. Use as an anchor to soften foundation corners, add vertical interest to front entries or dot throughout the garden to fashion an artful image where texture, form and movement come together for stunning living art in the garden.
- Contorted Hardy Orange Poncirus trifoliata "Flying Dragon" An unusual gem that looks especially intriguing in the winter garden. It makes a sharp contrast to softer surroundings by producing twisted, deep-green stems that seem playful — yet their wicked spines say beware. Deep-green bark and thorns hold their color all year long and are prominent on a snowy day. It also produces bright orange fruits in the fall, bitter but edible, and white fragrant flowers in April. Its dense, twisted shape provides a first-rate nesting environment, too.
- Contorted Filbert Corylus avellana "Contorta" As the name suggests, the 7-foot shrub is densely graced with twisted and spiraling branches, twigs and leaves. Rich with heritage, the Contorted Filbert originated in England in the mid-1800s. After leaf drop in winter, the exaggerated corkscrew appearance is far more interesting when the branches are bare, especially under a gown of ice. Soft, bright-golden catkins measuring 2 to 3 inches appear in late winter and last well into early spring.
- Dwarf Hinoki Cypress Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Gracilis' Woven deep-green branchlets fan along its tiered irregular branches, creating soft movement with a poised, open habit. No garden should be without this dwarf selection of Hinoki Cypress maturing to about 15 feet, with a slender free-form figure. Outstanding in the winter and throughout the year, this evergreen conifer is a striking work of art both in the landscape or grown in a container.
- Globe Blue Spruce Picea pungens globosa A rare form of Colorado Blue Spruce with striking steel-blue evergreen needles growing in a tight bun, makes a big visual show in stature and form. One of the most dominant and unusual colors in the landscape, this is a perfect selection for the small garden as it stays compact and provides an attractive mounding form that stays in scale. A "must-have" addition for the modern landscape, used alone or tucked into a rock garden.
Beth Burrell is a 25-year landscape design veteran, the owner of Giving Tree Ltd. and a horticultural educator for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Virginia Tech and other organizations throughout the state. For more information visit givingtreeltd.com.