I have a manger that I would like to plant up with evergreen dwarfs that gives interest through the year and something to invite butterfly's and bees, but I have know idea where to start, I also don't mind adding a few seasonal bulbs to the mix.
You might like a plant in my garden which I think is jolly, it's called Anthemis punctata, (don't know if it has a common name). It forms a cushion of finely-cut silvery green foliage about 6-8 inches high, and in late spring it's covered in daisy-like flowers about the size of a 2p coin, which bees enjoy. I thought of it for a basket because it's drought-hardy. It's faintly aromatic and easy to propagate from cuttings.
Sorry - couldn't resist!
If it's reasonably sunny - there are small hebes which would fit the bill, and you could do the usual 'trailing ivy in between' thing - variegated ones are ideal. Always looks smart, and you can still put small bulbs in as well. Not as good for bees etc, but certainly evergreen.
Heucheras if you can keep them moist enough. Dianthus.
Even saxifrages would be good as the early flowers are valuable for bees etc, and lovely with some early bulbs. Cerastium (snow in summer) has little white flowers and the bulbs would fit in between and around that. The ivy would give a contrast in foliage colour too.
Other trailing plants you could use are lysimachia nummularia aka creeping jenny (not evergreen though) and vinca aka periwinkle which comes in several versions. Trailing fuchsias would look good, fuchsia flowers show to best advantage when they're off the ground.
There are loads of things, the local GC has a section of low priced small plants for containers which includes evergreen things. I think I saw Euphorbia x martinii, heucheras and Carex 'Evergold' as well as obvious things like ivies and minature conifers.
thank you all you have given me ideas to work with I'm off to the local garden centre