An Armchair Adventure
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.