We have an open section in our hedge under our pergola where a privet hedge has been removed. The pergola is 6’6″ high and the posts are 5.5′ apart. We would like one type of native evergreen shrub that will grow to fill that opening. I imagined 3 emerald cedars until I realized how big they get. We would like something that will grow to 5-6′ but look natural rather than being trimmed to fit the height. It is a narrow yard so ideally it will be a narrow variety that could be trimmed so it doesn’t expand to take up space under the pergola.
The vine on the pergola will block the sun on the hedge until the afternoon when it will get afternoon sun on one side. The side of the hedge under the pergola will get very little sun.
The soil is sandy below the topsoil and we are near High Park.
What native evergreen species or varieties do you know of that would fill this space but not overwhelm it?
Thanks for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners. You identify that you want narrow native evergreen that would grow to only five to six feet in a shady area that doesn’t need to be pruned. Unfortunately there is not a native species that would fit these criteria. I recommend either Hick’s yews or Hill’s yews. These evergreens are slow growing shrubs that tolerate shade and a range of soils. They can grow up to 10 feet but you can prune them to control their size in a way that doesn’t look too formal.