I, however, find Pieris, more commonly known as Andromedas or 'Lily of the Vally' shrub, to be useful and lovely in a mixed boarder. They are best mixed in here and there in the background.
As far as broad-leaved evergreens go, they have more year round interest. New spring growths are generally bright red/pink as they emerge, and the flowers are chains of white (or red) bells in early spring (February-April). The flowers are fragrant, but smell a little like menthol.
There are many varieties with variegated foliage that also have intensely pink colored new growth.
Pieris grow much like a Rhododendron or an Azalea, preferring a shady spot, in well-drained, moist and acid soil. Drying winds and hot direct sun should be avoided. They will burn up quickly in hot sun.
I prefer to remove spent flower stems after blooming. They are very easy to clip off with a pruner. After blooming is also a good time to shape plants.
Most Pieris can grow to 10' with maturity, so be sure to leave room in your boarder for the full grown size. If that's too big, there are some adorable dwarf varieties that stay quite small (less than 2').
Be sure to try one in your garden.
|Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine' in flower.|
|Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine' in bud.|
|Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'.|
|Pieris japonica 'Variegata'|
|Pieris japonica 'Variegata' in bud.|