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Some Evergreen Shrubs

Mahonia repens (Creeping Mahonia) I can never over-emphasize the importance of evergreen shrubs in the garden. Otherwise, you have nothing to look at during the winter months. Here are a few of my favorites. Talk about a carefree plant! The PNW native  Mahonia repens (Creeping Mahonia or Creeping Oregon Grape) requires nothing special and will even tolerate drought after it is established. I tend to think of this plant more as a groundcover but after many years (six to be exact - it was planted in April of 2017) it is beginning to look more like a low-growing shrub. The height is less than 2 feet tall. Growth tends to be more horizontal and it has spread 3-4 feet. Not a fast grower. Sun or part-shade. The leaves are an attractive blue-green and they become tinged with red and purple when the weather is cooler.  Flowers have been sporadic but every year they increase. It usually blooms around April - The flowers are then followed (around July) by the berries or "grapes" - Os

Surprise blooms on the Honeybush (Melianthus Major)

From what I had read about the Honeybush (Melianthus Major), I didn't expect it to bloom. That would have been okay as the foliage is satisfying enough. After cutting it down to the ground after the ice and snow back in February (it looked good up unto that point), it has rebounded and is already four feet tall. I grow it on the south side of the house and I'm sure it is happy in it's warm spot.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I think Melianthus major appreciates being cut back hard. Each time I've cut mine down to stubs I've feared I killed it, only to have it dramatically rebound as yours did. Mine (in partial shade) usually only produces a single bloom but this year, despite our pathetically low rainfall, I've got 4 bloom spikes this year.

  2. Very cool! I've not seen a Melianthus bloom before.

  3. No comment about the honeybush in particular, but I wanted to tell you how happy I was to find your blog. I too, live in Vanc, WA, and just this year have I started work on our postage-stamp sized back yard. I am envious of your rich soils as mine are compacted and I have alot of remediation work to do. It's backbreaking. We are transplants from the upper midwest and I am amazed at what I can grow here. Nice to see a neighbor!

    1. Thank you Kiyoko and so nice to hear from a neighbor!

  4. The bloom stem before the flowers open is the prettiest burgundy imaginable. Beautiful photo.


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