Some gardeners’ green thumbs are already starting to get itchy. If you are one of those facing a long winter before you can start getting dirt under your fingernails again, there are a number of gardening things you can do in winter,
First, of course, is to give your houseplants tender loving care. Another is to check out your winter landscape, taking photos and jotting down notes in your journal. Be especially observant of places that appear empty or where plants may soften the starkness of winter.
Do some sketches to see where you would like to fill in this spring. Your goal should be for your landscape to be stunning regardless of the season. Some eye-catching plants may create winter interest with their textured bark, others with berries, colorful branches or even winter blooms. Some of these plants, like winterberry, put on their best show in winter.
I’m not suggesting that you plant only winter-interest plants but rather that you mix winter-interest plants into your total plant palette for four season beauty.
Total Landscape Care, a industry trade magazine, has suggested several plants that create winter interest. Here are a few evergreens on the list that are hardy in our region:
- Gold Rider Leyland Cypress (Cupressus leylandii ‘Gold Rider’) – This lover of full sun maintains its color and is hardy to Zone 5. Horizontal branching has bright gold-tipped sprays with lime green interior foliage. It can be used as a focal point, planted en masse as a hedge, or sheared for a more formal appearance. It grows 35 feet tall and 15 feet wide.
- Good Vibrations Gold Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Hegedus’) – This low-spreading, soft-tipped variety with bright gold color is hardy to Zone 4. It has orange hues in autumn, is deer resistant, and grows 12 to 18 inches high and 84 inches wide.
- Sprinter Boxwood (Boxwood Buxus microphylla ‘Builthouse’) – This fast-growing new variety that is resistant to boxwood blight is hardy to Zone 5. Pruning is seldom necessary. It sports shiny foliage, has an upright habit that works for hedging, and is attractive in containers. It grows 24 to 48 inches high and wide.
- Thuja Siena Sunset (Thuja occidentalis ‘Anniek’) – This beautiful dwarf that’s gold in summer and bronze in winter is hardy to Zone 4. A fast grower that maintains its round shape, this plant grows 12 to 24 inches high and 24 to 30 inches wide. For a tall, upright variety, try Thuja Forever Goldy, which boasts a gold color, resists winter burn and grows up 15 to 20 feet tall and 30 inches wide.
Next week, I’ll introduce you to some new plant varieties that provide winter color and texture.
If you’d like professional help, our designers are able to spend more time with you during the winter. They can look at your landscape and your sketches. You can share the notes from your journal and your photos, and look through our vast winter plant palette, including these new varieties. Together, we can develop a plan for 12 month beauty. Then first thing next spring, we can begin planting so you can enjoy your updated landscape for the full season.