Hi Blackcap...you are probably sorted at this stage...but the thing that shines in my dark corner is my acuba japonica or cheese plant....requires no effort at all! Very old hat (and even a bit cheesey!)I know but its lovely and shiney and green...also, have you thought about ferns...Monty was plantin them in a shady spot recently and they are lovely in the wind!
I'll agree with Ivy, ferns are no trouble, what about Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata) Aztec Pearl is less fussy than the golden varieties. Physocarpus - Ninebark, comes in burgundy, pale green/yellow. Cotinus is another easy one as well.
I can't edit or quote my comment, sorry - just read that you were after evergreens. Mexican Orange Blossom is evergreen and has lovely white fragrant flowers during early summer.
Hardy fuchsia, there are so many to choose from and so colourful. Astilbes for a shady area or foxgloves, Philadelphia s, hydranga, Japanese anemone or use obelix and have climbers hope this helps
I don't like pyracanthas either, we inherited one when we moved to this house, it was climbing up the wall by the front door. Very large thorns, soon got rid of that. Like the idea of comical holly tho
if you want perenials too, there are Epimediums, Euphorbia and Geranium Maccrorhizzum.
Hi Blackcap...was walking the dog this am when I saw an acuba japonica in my neighbours garden and realized what I meant to recommend to you was actually FATSIA JAPONICA and not acuba japonica !!( which I also have and love - it tollerates partial shade and is fab in the winter with its bright leaves and berries) I'm not sure where you are gardening, but Fatsia Japonica is frost hardy but may need a bit of protection from strong wind....there is also a lovely variegated version.....sorry for getting my japonicas mixed up!