Winter garden

Color in the winter garden

Winter need not be the forgotten season for your garden.  Like a winter scene painted by a fine artist, gardeners can blend the beauty of a snow-dusted winter morning with the vivid colors furnished by nature. 

The garden in winter : plant for beauty and interest in the quiet season
Suzy Bales.
Emmaus, Pa. : Rodale, c2007.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
The winter garden
Jane Sterndale-Bennett.
Newton Abbot : David & Charles, 2006.
Winter need never be a dead season, with empty beds awaiting the first shoots of spring. As autumn leaves fall, shrubs and trees reveal vibrant stems, textural bark and filigree silhouettes. Evergreen foliage in all its hues and variegations adds life to the planting. Fragile flowers lace the air with fragrance, a lively contrast to summer's legacy of dried grasses and seedheads. Enjoyed in the open air or through the window, the winter garden has a unique magic, whether the weather is misty and grey or frosty and bright. This books shows you how, with a little thought and clever planting, there can be as much color and interest in the garden in winter as in any other season.
Wonders of the winter landscape : shrubs and trees to brighten the cold-weather garden
Vincent A. Simeone.
Batavia, Ill. : Ball Pub., c2005.
Although North America suffers through several dreary months of winter each year, this guide describes trees and shrubs that make the barren winter landscape a wonderland of texture and color. Part one of the book conveys the elegance of deciduous trees and shrubs with an extreme attention to detail #8212; Persian parrotia offers twisted, sinuous branches and exfoliating bark; witch hazel presents distinctive yellow and orange straplike flowers; and beautyberry produces vivid purple berries the birds cannot resist. A shorter second section discusses the virtues of evergreens, both broadleaf and coniferous, and includes two useful appendices that cover evergreen care and list deer-resistant trees and shrubs.
Winter-flowering shrubs
Michael W. Buffin.
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2005.
"The cornerstone of this book is a hand-picked plant directory featuring both established favourites and lesser-known collectables, all chosen for their winter-flowering performance. After years of observing how plants react to different types of wintry conditions, Michael Buffin explains what happens physiologically to plants in winter, how they respond to different types of cold - low temperatures, bitter winds, saturated ground - and what gardeners can do to help their choice winter-flowering shrubs flourish. Tips on combining winter-flowering shrubs, using winter sunlight to backlight choice specimens, and getting the right balance of plants that offer different characteristics complete this guide. Whether looking to extend a plant collection or create a winter garden from scratch, collectors and gardeners alike will delight in the winter landscape evoked here."--BOOK JACKET.

Select flowering shrubs, conifers, evergreens, and deciuous trees for their bark, shape and color. Striking branch patterns from trees that lost their leaves present a silhouetted background to frame the winter garden. 

A flame of burning color is possible throughout winter in most growing zones.  Berries, hips, or haws can supply glints of color.  Wild rosehips add touchs of red. Young stems of the scarlet willow offer an orange-red colour.

Ghostly colours add contrast to these reds and oranges.  The ghost bramble adds a silvery colour. Silver fern, another bramble, has a blue-white bloom and greyish leaves. Arbors of these vines provide a feeling of walking under a canopy.

Conifers and boxwoods, with their striking shapes and shades of green, add color and vertical contrasts.  While some are large, there are many small or miniature varieties.  Mix a boxwood hedge with the the pyramid look of a juniper or Alberta spruce.  Few plants are more beatiful than these after a new snow.

Winter Landscape Ideas

English Ivy 
Witch Hazel

more ideas

Winter tends to pick up and highlight inanimate garden details. A large fence, stone wall, or curved bridge over a small stream provide a pleasing contour.  A bench provides a place to sit with a cup of hot coffee to enjoy the view. 

Containers add appeal to winter gardens and minimize maintenance.  Frost safe containers like stone, cement and wood are best for those living in zones 7 and above.

The temperatures may plummet and most plantings go dormant in the winter.  But the winter garden remains a work of art that never ceases to amaze those who explore it.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff