By Karen Chapman of Le jardinet
If you are seeking a sun loving, drought tolerant shrub that offers vivid golden foliage, ‘Sunshine’ Ligustrum (Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’ PP20379) may be the perfect answer. This is not your grandmother’s privet, however. If memories of a large, unruly shrub and a cloying sickly-sweet perfume makes you wary, fear not as Sunshine has a compact growth habit and doesn’t bloom.
In spring the leaves are a bright fresh green, turning to shades of gold as the season progresses. The densely packed foliage makes it suitable for shearing into hedges or topiary but this is a matter of personal preference as it doesn’t need regular pruning to maintain a good shape.
Another bonus of this low maintenance shrub is its deer and rabbit resistance. With so many great attributes your only decision will be deciding how many to buy.
If rabbits and deer are frequent visitors to your garden you will be all too familiar with the frustration of finding your favorite garden plants nibbled or trampled. Thankfully, the stout shrubby nature of ‘Sunshine’ Ligustrum enables it to survive such visitors. For a colorful but tough combination team it with blue star juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’) . This deep steel blue conifer always looks good against the golden shrub and its stiff needle-like foliage is unappetizing to browsing deer and rabbits.
To complete the triad of primary colors add Paprika yarrow (Achillea millefolium ‘Paprika’). This herbaceous perennial will bloom for many weeks, the flowers fading slowly from vivid crimson to soft terracotta creating a multi-hued effect. The only care it needs is cutting back in late fall. As a bonus its aromatic foliage and flowers are unappetizing to critters.
All three plants are drought tolerant once established making this an easy care combination for waterwise garden designs.
Year Round Color
Evergreen foliage doesn’t have to be green. Pair ‘Sunshine’ Ligustrum with the dramatic black foliage of Black Adder Phormium for a high contrast black and gold combo that will make sure your garden stands out from the crowd.
To bridge these two extremes add a cluster of ‘Beyond Blue’ Festuca grass in the foreground. This finely textured grass is a clear powder blue, helping to temper the bolder colors while the texture will also soften the broad phormium blades. Like its partners this evergreen grass is drought tolerant and deer resistant although rabbits may find it tempting.