"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December." - J. M. Barrie
Many people put down their trowels and forget about the garden during winter months. With many plants going dormant and snow covering the landscape in northern areas, it’s easy to lose sight of the beauty a garden can bring.
Winter can be the perfect time to re-evaluate the garden and consider ways to add different dimensions to maintain interest. Beat the winter blues with these easy steps:
1) Keep Your Eye on the Form - Consider planting a variety of shrubs that keep their color year round. Conifers create a perfect framework that unifies gardens throughout the seasons. During warmer months, they can be used as a backdrop for annuals, perennials and flowering shrubs to create a colorful backyard haven. When the cold weather arrives, however, they maintain their vibrancy to spruce up an otherwise dull landscape. Choose larger upright conifers such as Chaparral Cypress as a focal point to draw the eye to a certain area. For smaller gardens, dwarf varieties such as Hot Head™ Arborvitae can be used for unparalleled texture without taking up too much space. With the added benefit of extreme cold tolerance, Hot Head™ makes an excellent low-maintenance plant.
2) Winter Blooming Plants - Loropetalum is an extremely versatile variety that stands out during winter months. It retains its foliage all year round and produces showy tassel-like blooms in late winter months when few other plants are flowering. Ever Red® Loropetalum offers beautiful dark burgundy foliage for a striking focal point. It also features the reddest blooms ever seen on a loropetalum. Other varieties to consider are winter camellias, hellebores, winter jasmine, daphne or witch hazel for a pop of color.
3) Create a Refuge for Winter Wildlife - Throughout the spring and summer, it is easy to incorporate a variety of plants that attract wildlife. When choosing trees or shrubs, however, think about varieties that also offer winter interest. Some shrubs have an added bonus of more treats for a winter menu. Crapemyrtles such as the dwarf Cherry Dazzle® or mid-sized versions like Red Rooster® not only offer bright blooms all summer long, they also produce seed pods that birds relish during the off-season. Pearlific® Viburnum is another evergreen flowering shrub that produces a delightful treat of red berries that ripen to black that are ideal for hungry birds.
4) Think Structure - Consider adding other elements to the landscape for more visual interest. A trellis is a great vertical element that draws the eye up and creates a home for exquisite vines to call home. Although Hot Lips® Trumpet Vine loses its foliage in the winter, its straw-colored branches twisting upwards adds whimsical flair to the garden space. Building an arbor is another type of structure that helps to pull the eye toward a certain section of the garden.
5) Add Some Personal Touches - garden décor is the perfect way to personalize the garden. Accents such as garden statues, pinwheels and spinners or wrought iron pieces placed among the plants can bring a pop of needed color during dull winter months. They can also serve as motivation to start thinking about spring planting when the warmer weather arrives.
Beat the winter blues and keep the garden colorful all year round. It’s easy to do and the rewards are plentiful.