Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 2—Black Hills Spruce

Black Hills spruce bailey

Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

Winters in the North can be wimpy or wild, but no matter how severe or mild, winter will be here for a long, long time. That stretch between November and April almost requires that northern gardeners add evergreens to their landscapes to provide color and texture to the winter scene.

bailey black hills spruce closeup

Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries Inc.

The list of evergreen options is long from tiny blue globular shrubs to massive pines. One of our favorites is the Black Hills spruce (Picea glauca var. densata). This Minnesota native is a stately, conical spruce with needles that range from bright green to almost blue in color. It’s a big tree with a spread of 20 to 25 feet and a mature height of up to 60 feet, so this is not the best option for postage stamp yards. (For a smaller place, consider a more diminutive conifer, such as Wichita Blue juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’).

If you have a country garden, these make a wonderful windbreak planted in staggered rows. What are some of your favorite evergreens?