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The Winter Landscape


While the days may be shorter and colder, that doesn't have to mean the end of a beautiful landscape. With the winter season officially beginning today, we asked one of our landscape designers what her favorite winter plants are. Just because the warmer days are behind us, there are still so many possibilities when it comes to the winter landscape. See what our designer has to say...

Camellias top my list every year for winter interest. The varying bloom times, color choices and diverse mature size choices make these a must-have. Yuletide is one of my favorites because they tend to bloom during the holidays when many folks are entertaining. I also love picking the blooms and floating them in a glass bowl as part of interior winter decorations.

The spring blooming camellias are also wonderful for exciting the senses in early spring. I love using the large bold leaves of Camellia Japonica in landscape plans. It works well when mixed with small leaved azaleas, boxwoods and lacey Nanina’s. In shady yards, I often use Camellia Japonica on the front corners of the home. Properly selected varieties will grow to just the right size and the bloom color can be chosen to compliment the front door or brick colors. One of the most common “ah ha” moments for homeowners is when I suggest to them to stop flattening or rounding up their camellias and instead remove the bottom branches to create a limbed up small tree! I will place a Camellia within the view of a den or office window. These shrubs are also great planted near places where you tend to sit or visit in the winter.

Hellebores are another one of my favorites. The new varieties whose blossoms were bred to stand up rather than droop are bright spots in any winter garden. Jacob and Pink Frost are my “go to” plants for low winter flowers. I keep a Jacob potted and use it on my front porch in early December and all through early spring. During the summer, I move it to the back porch for added greenery as Hellebores are evergreens and keep their green foliage year round.

Good old stand bys, Gold Dust Aucuba and Nandina domestica cannot be forgotten due to their winter interest. The shiny gold speckled leaves of the Aucuba add a density to sparse shade gardens as well as accent azalea gardens. Nandina domestica, with its large drops of red berries is one of my favorites for placing near a front door or even flanking both sides of a front porch because they are quickly noticed as guests dart in from the cold. Nandina domestica is a plant that I will try to work into a plan whenever I am working with a white or light colored facade. (ie: fences and foundations).

When I think winter interest, I also like to include plants that encourage wildlife. Cedars and Hollies with their thick green branches provide cover. The fruit is a major attractor for many birds and their branches are beautiful when graced with snow. Every year, Cedar Waxwings visit my native Cedars and I marvel at the flocks of Robins that visit the native American Holly.

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