Thursday, February 20, 2014

Does Your Landscape Have Winter Interest? by Donna Duffy


It's pretty easy to have an interesting garden from May through October while flowers, trees and shrubs are growing and colorful. Winter? That's a different challenge. If your winter interest consists of some lighting and evergreens, you can do better! The American Society of Landscape Architects offers these suggestions to add interest to your winter garden.



Evergreen shrub at Kendrick Lake Gardens

Consider using plants that will change throughout the year. There are more than enough varieties of needle-leafed and broadleaved evergreens available. For example, try using evergreen shrubs with a few well-placed perennials or ornamental grasses for color. Don't cut the grasses until springtime. You’ll be surprised at the variety and interest that can be achieved.
What's more interesting? These grasses that were cut in the fall?
Or this grass, left to sway in the winter wind

Remember that many perennials have evergreen foliage (although “evergreen” in some cases can mean more red or purple than green). These include Hardy yellow iceplant (Delosperma nubigenum), Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens), Pine-leaf penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius), Fleeceflower (Polygonum affine), Lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus), Stonecrop (Sedum spurium), and Partridge feather (Tanacetum densum).
Seed heads in the snow

Leave Rudbeckia blooms on the plant in the fall

In addition, non-evergreen perennials with flower heads and seeds that persist in winter can be an attractive element in a winter landscape. Among these are Yarrow (Alchemilla millefolium), Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Sulphur Flower (Eriogonum umbellatrum), Blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata), and Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia fulgida).
Red Twig Dogwood at Sloan's Lake

When choosing deciduous plants for winter interest, select for colorful bark or persistent berries. Too often, however, a shrub with red bark or berries is planted against a red brick wall and becomes practically invisible in the winter.

This is the best time to assess your landscape's winter interest and make notes for next season. Grab you snow boots and take a look around!