As winter settles in the garden can seem to be on hold – few things are blooming and cold temperatures keep everyone inside. Add the threat of a winter storm and few people are thinking about garden beautification! However, there are many plants that can really shine with a coat of ice or snow – consider adding one or a combination of these in a spot that can be viewed from your favorite cold weather spot inside the house.
Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ – Coral Bark Japanese Maple
While most Japanese Maples have interesting foliage and vibrant fall color ‘Sango-Kaku’ has the additional benefit of bright red stems, especially on the newest growth. When covered in snow the red becomes even more vibrant, and would make a great focal point at the back of a planting bed.
Above: Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ with summer foliage and then covered in winter snow
Corylus avellana ‘contorta’ – Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick
Moving from stem color to stem shape brings us to Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, a unique mid sized shrub. This plant has medium green leaves in the summer, making it a great backdrop plant for colorful annuals or perennials. Once these leaves fall, the curly structure of the shrub is revealed. Add a snowy white backdrop and the sculptural nature of the plant becomes the focal point of a winter garden.
Above: Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ with summer foliage and with a backdrop of winter snow.
Narcissus Tete-a-Tete – Dwarf Yellow Daffodils
Bark color and shape are important components of the winter garden, but the addition of flower color in the winter adds an exciting pop of interest. A plant that would work as an under planting for either of the above options is the Narcissus Tete-a-Tete, which grows just 6 inches tall. One of the earliest blooming Daffodils, this bulb is likely to bloom when snowy weather is still a possibility. Consider working these bulbs among a summer perennial garden – they will be dormant by the time summer companion plants start to grow.
Above: Narcissus Tete-a-Tete with late winter flowers emerging through the snow.
When designing a garden it is important to consider all seasons, including winter! Need help designing a landscape with seasonal interest throughout the year? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919-475-1015 or fill out our online contact form. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!