When most teenagers went to work at Dairy Queen for the summer, I decided to punch a time card at the local nursery. I had a basic knowledge of plants, thanks to my garden-savvy parents, but admittedly, I didn’t know the answer to every question customers threw my way. The one question that I dreaded being asked—and the one that was asked most often—went something like this: “I want a low-maintenance, flowering, evergreen plant.”
I understood this desire to “have it all” quite well; it was like me wanting a low-fat, low-calorie, great-tasting candy bar. But unlike the too-good-to-be-true treat, flowering evergreens do exist and come as close as possible to plant perfection. They have the year-round interest of conifers and the floral display of perennials. They’re great as foundation plants, not only because they’re evergreen but also because many have a short stature, so they won’t…
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