Winter Landscaping

Extra! Dec 2015 Landscaping


Rate this Article: 

Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Imagine a window view of a landscape that is alive with color and texture: bright yellow, red, and white flowers bursting into bloom and lush green, blue, and golden foliage.

Now imagine it in winter.

By learning a bit about plants that exhibit interesting winter features, you can create a garden that will stand out in every season.

Believe it or not, there are a few plants that bloom in winter.

  • The Christmas rose, the earliest blooming hellebore, produces persistent white flowers with just a hint of pink in December and January.


Christmas Rose. Credit: Thinkstock


  • In the Far North, witch hazel hybrids flower in February and March with fragrant yellow, red, and orange blooms, along with many varieties of pussy willows.

Flowers actually play only a small role in making a winter garden sparkle.

  • Rich green hemlocks and light wispy pines provide screens and backdrops, while weeping blue spruce, ‘Old Gold’ juniper, and the columnar ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae provide pleasing shapes and colors.
  • Broad-leaf evergreens like blue holly,‘Emerald Gold’ euonymous, laurels, and small-leaf rhododendrons add still more color and texture. Many berries hang on long into winter.
  • The red berries of highbush cranberries, hollies, and hawthorns; the red, yellow, purple, and bronze fruit of crabapples; and the variety of fruit and berries offered by cherries, viburnums, and roses can be considered the flowers of winter.

Crabapples. Credit: Thinkstock

  • Add to these the vividly colored stems of red osier and yellow-twig dogwoods.

Without their leaves, trees and shrubs reveal an inner beauty.

  • The exfoliating cinnamon-red bark of the paperbark maple and stark rough exterior of the black cherry now become dominant features.
  • The silhouettes of trees, like the contorted filbert with its spiraling, corkscrew-like branches, become focal points, signing their signatures with shadows on the snow.

You can’t really do much about planting a winter landscape now, but it is the time for planning and dreaming—and choosing a window to put your armchair by.

George Lohmiller


December 2015 Extra!

Leave a Comment

Free Almanac Newsletters

Weather, sky watch, gardening, recipes, good deals, and everyday advice!