December 9, 2013

Planning and Planting Your Landscape for Winter Enjoyment

by Toni Leland

Being an avid gardener, I find it frustrating to suffer through the winter months in New England with nothing to do outdoors. (I had the same problem when I lived in Ohio!)

But every morning as I walk through the neighborhood, I enjoy the interesting and colorful plantings that the local residents have used in their landscapes. Planning for winter color means thinking waaay ahead. Those shrubs and trees will need to be planted in spring and, most likely, won't give you much of a display the first year. A newly-planted specimen needs that initial time to establish a solid root system and adapt to the conditions of the location.

Winter interest isn't just about color ~ texture and shape also help to break up a dreary garden view. The following suggestions will give you some ideas where to start. I know personally that these plants all grow well in the central and northeastern U.S. ~ I've never lived in a place where stuff grows year 'round, so I'm at a disadvantage with those of you who do! Enjoy these and make some plans for your own winter view.

As I've mentioned previously, unless my article is specifically about a particular species or family, I'll provide links to detailed information about these beauties.


Threadleaf False Cypress 'Gold Mop'
Threadleaf False Cypress 'Gold Mop' is striking year 'round

Red Barberry 'Rosy Glow'
Red Barberry 'Rosy Glow' - this color is great against the snow
Drooping Leucothoe 'Rainbow'
Drooping Leucothoe 'Rainbow' is evergreen with lovely pink or red accents

Pieris japonica flowers
Pieris Japonica in winter displays the forming buds that will bloom in spring

pieris japonica new red leaves
Pieris Japonica in spring graces the garden with flaming red new growth

Flowering Quince
Flowering Quince shows its lovely blooms in February

Red Twig Dogwood in winter
Red Twig Dogwood in winter is a striking contrast in the landscape

Red Twig Dogwood 'Ivory Halo' in spring bloom
Red Twig Dogwood 'Ivory Halo' in spring – a shrub with year ’round interest

Harry Lauder's Walking Stick in winter
Harry Lauder's Walking Stick provides a lovely conversation piece in the winter garden

Witch Hazel 'Arnold's Promise' in bloom
Witch Hazel 'Arnold's Promise' offers its flowers before the leaves

Witch Hazel 'Jelena' in bloom
Witch Hazel 'Jelena' glows with orange-red colored blossoms

Maiden grass in bloom
Beautiful plumes of Maiden Grass remain well into wintery weather
Maiden grass in winter
Maiden Grass provides winter interest even when all color is gone
Hellebore 'Pink Frost'
Hellebore 'Pink Frost' shows up in late winter
Hellebore 'Early Purple'
Hellebore 'Early Purple ' glows on a cold sunny day
Hellebore 'Bear's Foot'
Hellebore 'Bear's Foot' appears even in the snow
More About These Plants
Other Resources for Information

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