As the color and autumn hues have become a distant memory, the crisp defined shapes of winter stand out. There are so many aspects of the garden to embrace as we wait for spring.
Evergreens are the anchor plants in the garden. Most often they are a reliable source of year round color, provide privacy if needed and guide the rest of our plantings that come and go with the seasons. Their berries, leaves, bark and various heights allow us to be creative. Round and glossy leaves, needles, and varying shades of greens and reds are all attractive features of this plant family.
Use in the ground or in a decorative container; there are many great ways to display their unique traits! To spruce them up for winter, do a good weed sweep around the base and remove dead or broken branches. Next, apply a mulch (try Lane Forest Products Bark-O Mulch) around the roots of the evergreen always making sure it does not touch the bark which might cause it to rot. A generous 2-3” around the drip line will work best.
There are plenty of groundcovers in the form of succulents, perennials, herbs and natives that offer winter interest. Groundcovers can help hold the soil in place on slopes, and can be a living mulch around your other plantings. Tidy these up for winter by raking leaves and debris off the winter greens, which will help in preventing mold and mildew from setting in on leaves and bark. A dusting of mulch may be necessary to protect any exposed roots.
Color in the winter garden can also come in the form of light and dark mulches, rocks, and many other hardscape options. Control mud with a brightly colored wood-chip path, or create a dark forest- like path using hemlock mulch. Crushed rainbow rock can brighten up a winter garden or try strategic placement of a few large boulders to add a great element of nature to any landscape. Stone fire pits and water features draw attention to otherwise quiet areas of your yard; consider how fire and water can be incorporated into your earth and air elements.
Don’t let the dark days of winter stop you from going outside; there is plenty of fun to be had in the winter garden. Reward yourself and pick a bouquet of rose hips, holly, and willow suckers to brighten up your indoors and your mood. There is always something growing on!
Article was written by landscaping expert Heidi Branchesi of Chezem Creek Gardens & Heidi’s Timely Gardening Tips. Find more of her gardening tips in the Expert Advice section of our YOG:Blog.