The winter garden can be a relaxing way to enjoy nature all year! While most of our flora has been put to bed for the winter, for some plants winter is their time to shine. How can you continue to enjoy your garden and landscaping even in the winter? Try to introduce diverse plants so you can enjoy color, texture and even blooms.
Once the deciduous leaves have fallen beautiful bark and unusual plant forms are revealed. Heritage River Birch is a native species that has golden peeling bark. Wichita, Natchez and Miami Crape Myrtle all have chestnut to cinnamon colored bark. Many varieties of Japanese Maple also have attractive burgundy bark. Red and yellow twig shrub dogwoods are also a nice way to add color. Harry Lauder Walking Stick and the Corkscrew Willow tree have remarkable branch shapes.
Seed pods and berries also add winter interest. Consider including hollies in your landscape. Not only do they provide beautiful berries but the evergreen, shiny foliage stands out in the winter. Some deciduous hollies such as the Winterberry are covered in orange to red berries. They are also a native plant and therefore often easy to grow. The Chokeberry is also native with dark purple fruit in the early winter.
Did we mention blooms? Yes, it is possible to have blooms in the winter landscape. The Camellia is known for blooms from late fall through the spring, depending on the variety. Plant several so you can have blooms all winter long. The Lenten Rose is a superb way to have the best of several worlds! The Lenten Rose is available in many bloom colors with single and double bloom varieties. The blooms often last for two months and are then followed by seed pods. In addition, the evergreen foliage is a great addition to the garden. Witchhazel is one more winter bloomer. The yellow to orange-red flowers begin in late fall when the leaves are falling and continue through the winter. Winter Pansies are another way to add continuous blooms through the cool months. They should be considered an annual and fertilized once a month for optimum blooming.
Evergreen shrubs and perennials add year round interest and can provide texture that comes to the forefront in the winter. Boxwood, Holly, Abelia, Laurel and many others look great in the winter. They are also excellent options for cutting and bringing inside for winter arrangements. Some perennials that are evergreen include Lavender, Shasta Daisy, Thyme, Rosemary and Dianthus. Don’t forget Christmas Fern and other ferns for variety in texture.
Introducing architecture into your garden is a different way to add winter interest. Weathervanes, garden sculpture, trellises and arbors provide visual enjoyment. Add evergreen vines to grow over the arbor to create a great winter focal point. A bench can act both as an architectural element and an inspiration to sit a bit on nice winter days. In addition, it is a good idea to keep paths clear to encourage walks through your winter garden.
Go ahead! Get out and enjoy your garden in the winter!
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