For most people gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall. When the garden beds have been cleared and the snow begins to fall, we are left with a white, boring landscape.
Wouldn’t you rather have a beautiful and colorful winter garden spot? You can. With a little imagination and planning, you can have a beautiful winter garden, alive with color and beautiful birds.
There are many plants that can add color and beauty to your winter garden…
Blue Rug Juniper
The Blue Rug Juniper is beautiful throughout the winter. It easily tolerates sub-zero temperatures while retaining its beautiful appearance. The dense, silvery-blue foliage grows to 6-8 inches tall, spreading to about 5 feet. The Blue Rug Juniper prefers full sun to partial shade. A great choice for your winter garden that thrives best in zones 2 – 9.
Low-growing Irish Moss is ideal for filling in spaces between plants and shrubs in your winter garden. It prefers full sun to partial shade. Densely matted, moss-like clumps will grow 2-4 inches high. Irish Moss rarely needs clipping and will withstand foot traffic. Retains its beautiful green color all year long with contrasting delicate white flowers from mid spring to early summer. Don’t overlook this great groundcover when planning your winter garden. Thrives best in zones 4 – 8.
Coral Beauty Cotoneaster
This beautiful evergreen ground cover produces coral-red berries that persist into winter, adding color and beauty to your winter landscape. It will grow 12-24 inches tall and spread approximately 6 feet. White flowers will appear in the late spring. Prefers full sun to partial shade and thrives best in zones 5 – 7.
White Lady Helleborus
Snowy-white, 2 to 3 inch blooms will emerge in late winter into early spring, announcing the end of the cold winter weather. The White Lady Helleborus is long lasting and extremely hardy, adding interest the year round. Preferring full to partial shade, it will grow 14-18 inches tall with approximately the same spread. Thrives best in zones 4 – 9.
Hardy Evergreen Bamboo
This hardy and attractive bamboo has dark emerald canes that hold their beautiful color, even in the coldest winters. Very dense, dark green foliage, is suspended on erect 18-30′ stems, making it an excellent choice for bordering your winter garden. Does very well in full sun to partial shade, putting out new rusty-red colored growth each spring. This is one of the hardiest bamboos for northern winter gardeners. Thrives best in zones 5 – 9.
The Wintergreen forms a ground-covering mat of foliage with white, bell-shaped flowers highlighted in shades of pink, early in the spring. In the fall, bright red berries appear, adding interest to this beautiful plant. The leaves will turn a beautiful shade of scarlet in the winter. Thrives best in zones 4 – 8.
These are just a few of the beautiful plants available for your winter garden. There are many more available online, or at your local garden center.
The planning and layout of your winter garden will be a matter of personal taste. For your winter garden consider selecting a spot in the corner of your lawn, using a row of Blue Spruce, Bamboo, etc. on two sides. The area you select should be easily viewed from the windows of your home. After all what’s the point of a beautiful winter garden, if you can’t admire it?
With the Blue Spruce, Bamboo, etc. as a background border, add additional evergreen plants of your choosing. The plants I mentioned above are great places to start.
There is much more you can do with your winter garden than just plants. Make it a haven for the birds in your area by adding bird feeders. There are a lot of beautifully colored birds around all winter long. In my area there are Chickadees, Cardinals and Blue Jays, just to name a few.
Be sure to choose the feeders and bird seed that are appropriate for the types of birds living in your area. A birdbath is another great addition to your winter garden. There are a number of birdbath heaters on the market that will prevent the water from freezing.
The addition of solar lighting can create a spectacular scene on those cold winter nights. There are solar lighted statues, spotlights and pathway lights. You are only limited by your own imagination and creativity.
There is no reason that your gardening enjoyment has to end in the fall. You can create a beautiful winter garden oasis to enjoy all winter long.