Though winter is a quiet time in the garden, it can still be interesting. It’s a time when we’re not distracted by the ephemeral beauty of spring, the riotous color of summer, or the fiery fall foliage.
You may have to look a bit closer in winter to find plants that show off, but they are there, and they are easy to incorporate into your own garden. These plants offer color, texture and form in their branches and berries. Plant them where you can see them from an inside window, or near a door you pass through often. Their details are appreciated most up close.
This Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) is one of my favorites for winter. It’s shiny bark exfoliates in long, curling sheets that look like cinnamon. If you like the look of River Birch, you’ll love this tree.
The mottled bark of this Stewartia pseudocamellia is another example of the beautiful color and texture of bark. If you like Kousa Dogwoods, try a Japanese Stewartia.
For a native tree, Winter King Hawthorne (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’) can’t be beat. It has gorgeous coral/red colored fruit that emerges in the fall and often persists through to winter (if it’s not eaten by birds). If you’ve always loved winterberry (and you have a bit more more space) try this tree, the birds will thank you for it!
These Yellow Twig Dogwoods (Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’) are most showy when they’ve lost their leaves. Plant them in mass, and against an evergreen background for an eye catching effect. If you like red twig dogwoods, check out their yellow cousins.
And finally, the above plant is called Golden Girl Holly (Ilex meserveae ‘Golden Girl’) and it was one of my favorites this year. I think red berries, while gorgeous, can be a bit expected. These bright yellow berries are fun, surprising, and cheerful all winter.