Glorious Woodlands will design evergreens into your forest as well as broadleaf species, as they provide winter protection for valuable wildlife habitats. They also provide visual diversity throughout the year. We might use up to 10% or 20% evergreen species in your woodland design.
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) has a herringbone appearance which comes from the pinnae growing directly opposite each other from the stem. The hard fern is versatile, it grows on heaths, moors, grassland, hedgerows and along watercourses. It prefers moist, acidic conditions in woodlands. In winter, due to the lack of plants available, red deer feed on hard fern.
Holm oak (Quercus ilex)
In winter, Holm oak (Quercus ilex) dedicates a bold colour and round shape to the landscape. The holm oak has small yellow catkins. After pollination, the catkins develop into green acorns which mature into dark brown before falling. The catkins are a source of pollen to bees and other insects, the dense canopy provides shelter for birds throughout the year. Holm oaks timber is hard and often used for agricultural tools and firewood.
The juniper (Juniperus) tree offers a bright splash of colour through winter as well as providing a home for wildlife. The prickly needle leaves of juniper are green with silver bands on the inner side. Flowers are round, small and yellow. Once developed they become purple, aromatic berry shaped fruits which provide food for birds. Juniper is a good home for nesting birds, who also spread the berries, juniper is also a food for caterpillars and moths. Juniper berries are famously used for flavouring gin and the wood is used for carving and burning to smoke food. Junipers aromatic berries are often used in aromatherapy and perfume.
Cedar (Cedrus) is a distinct tree that offers a majestic display to your woodland. The dark green needles contrast the brown cones, which release pollen. The cracks in the trunk provide a cosy nest for birds including the tawny owl as well as other species such as bats.
Holly tree (ilex)
The bark is smooth and thin and the stems are dark brown. The bright red berries contrast the shiny green leaves with prickly edges. The berries are a vital source of food for birds in winter, and small mammals, such as wood mice and dormice. While the glossy dark leaves which remain green all year are a winter food source for deer. Holly is dioecious, meaning that male and female flowers occur on different trees. Holly is native in the UK and is common in woodland, scrub and hedgerows, especially in oak and beech woodland. Holly provides dense cover creating good nesting opportunities for birds, while its deep, dry leaf litter may be used by hedgehogs and small mammals for hibernation. The flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects.
Leyland Cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii)
Leyland cypress trees can grow to 40m. The foliage is dense and hides much of the trunk. The bark is red-grey with ridges, and twigs are slender, brown and flexible. The flowers are Ball-shaped cones which are small and brown. It is fast-growing and therefore commonly grown in the UK as a hedge in residential areas. It grows well in most soils and prefers full sun. When grown as a hedge, the dense foliage of Leyland cypress provides shelter for garden birds, which often nest in it.
Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)
The Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)trunk often forks and the bark is cracked into vertical plates. The twigs are a dark bluish-grey with short scale-like leaves which are grouped in fours and hide the twigs, forming flat planes. They are green with a whitish tinge underneath. The foliage has a pungent scent, rather like parsley. The flowers look like buds, male flowers are crimson, becoming yellow with pollen whereas female flowers are blue. Cones ripen from female flowers, starting green, then turning cream and finally ending brown. They are pea-sized with broad scales.
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)
It is pyramidal in shape, with a broad trunk and dense fern-like foliage. The bark is ridged and dark reddish-brown.Leaf bases cover the twigs, creating flattened sprays of foliage in opposite pairs. Leaves sprouting from the twigs are small, only 2–3mm long, and scale-like with an ovate shape. They are dark glossy green above with whitish markings underneath. The species is monoecious, which means that both male and female flowers grow on the same tree. Male flowering cones are small and inconspicuous. Female flowering cones are small, reddish-purple, and borne near the tips of branches. The fruits are small, woody cones are brown, slender and oval-shaped with scales. Seeds are brown ovals with narrow wings on either side.
Black pine (Pinus nigra)
Black pine is triangular when young and becomes flat-topped when mature. The bark is rough and grey-brown or black in colour and the branches are dense. Twigs are hairless, yellowish-brown and ridged. It is a fast-growing tree with needles that occur in pairs. The needles have slightly serrated edges and can be straight or curved. Flowers open in May, the females are red and the males yellow. The cones grow to 5–8cm and have prickled scales and the seeds are winged. Today, it’s widely grown in the UK as a popular ornamental tree. This species is found in plantations, shelter belts, parks, churchyards and large gardens throughout the UK. In some parts of the UK it has become naturalised on heaths and sand dunes and it can regenerate naturally from seed. Plantations offer shelter to birds, deer and small mammals. A variety of birds are attracted to the black pine to feed on the seeds.
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)
The bark is a scaly orange-brown, which develops plates and fissures with age. Twigs are green-brown and hairless.The needle-like leaves are blue-green and slightly twisted, and grow in pairs on short side shoots. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is monoecious, meaning both male and female flowers grow on the same tree. Male flowers comprise clusters of yellow anthers at the base of shoots whereas female flowers are small, red-purple and globular, and grow at the tips of new shoots. After pollination by wind, the female flowers turn green and develop into cones. They mature the following season, so there are always cones of different ages on the one tree. Mature cones are grey-brown with a raised, circular bump at the centre of each scale. It thrives in heathland and is widely planted for timber and valuable for Scottish wildlife such as the red squirrel.
Eucalyptus can vary in form from a short shrub to a tall, evergreen tree. The bark is a blue-grey colour and peels off in strips to reveal yellow patches underneath. Sometimes, a red resin exudes through breaks in the bark, hence the tree’s other name, the gum tree. Flower buds are cone-shaped and grouped together in sets of three on short stalks. Each bud has a round cap on top called the calyptus, which falls off to reveal the fluffy white or red flower stamens that are so attractive to bees. In the middle of the flower a hard, woody pod develops that opens to release seeds.
Yew (Taxus baccata)
Yew can grow up to 20m tall, the red-brown bark has purple tones and the needle-like leaves are present all year round. The flowers are visible in March and April, the male flowers are white-yellow globes whereas the female flowers are bud-like and scaly.
Bay laurel (Lauren nobilis)
This evergreen tree has dark green foliage and can be created as a formal shape. The leaves are often found in cooking to flavour stews, bolognese and other dishes. It flowers in spring and can spread up to 7.5m.
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
This fragrant tree is popular at Christmas and is a wonderful home for wildlife. It can grow up to 55m and live for more than 1,000 years. The grey-green bark has highly scented blisters. The flowers develop into oval cones which hang down from the branches.
Norway spruce (Picea abies)
The winter cover of the Norway spruce makes it popular for wildlife such as squirrels. This fast-growing conifer can reach 40m and live up to 1,000 years. The bark is coppery grey-brown which matures into a dark purple-brown. The flowers turn from green to red-brown cones and the seed are released in spring.