I'm giving myself a task this winter to put together a list of evergreen trees and shrubs for the Williamsburg area (what else is there to do this time of year?). It's a work in progress and I'll be expanding it from time to time. First up - trees.
The Usual Suspects
These are the most commonly grown species in this area. They are used in both residential and commercial landscapes and are sold in large quantities by wholesale nurseries.
fruit, but a lot of people don't like the coarse, prickly character of the tree. This tree may not be planted that often, but it's probably already in your yard.
flowers and large dark leathery leaves that drop and take forever to decompose. It has a very strong visual character, almost 'in your face'. Don't bother transplanting one of the seedlings that are coming up in the woods - the named varieties are so much better! Be sure to one with a nice rusty brown color on the back of the leaves. I really like the multi-trunked form of this specimen in near downtown Williamsburg.
Beyond the Norm
These species aren't as commonly used, but it shouldn't be too hard to find them at your local garden center.
flowers are pretty and fragrant but not super showy. This tree is in front of Coke-Garrett house in Colonial Williamsburg.
fruits, which are black, might be called 'interesting'. This shot was taken in Colonial Wiliamsburg - there are lots of them there.
What in the World?
These are fairly unusual species. If you see one of these, it was probably planted by a pretty adventurous gardener. These are probably available only through mail-order or person to person exchange.
Colonial Williamsburg native plant nursery but it finally succumbed to cold weather. It has beautiful white blooms something like a Franklinia.
galls, which can be very unattractive. Jamestown Island is a good place to see them and there are also several in Colonial Williamsburg.
grass-like stage before shooting up. This picture was taken in the Zuni Pine Barrens preserve. Interestingly, most of the Longleafs there are actually the offspring of trees from Georgia and other southern states - the trees in the preserve were planted many, many years ago. Virginia now has a Longleaf farm near the Zuni preserve with thousands of seedlings from the 500 or so remaining Virginia Longleafs. There are a couple of recently planted trees in the Colonial Parkway along the James.