After the leaves fall, the flowers are long gone and cold settles in, your yard can look incredibly bleak; however, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a monochromatic blanket of white…
While shopping for the bright and bold flowers for the spring and summer is fun, planning ahead for winter interest and color also offers its own rewards. To get some nice color in the winter, plant these trees and shrubs where you can easily view them from inside your house. There are a few other ways to add that much-needed pop of color in the bleak winter months.
1. Interesting Tree Bark
Plants with interesting bark are stars without their foliage and really shine in the winter. These trees and shrubs are beautiful in summer and winter when the bark is normally overlooked. Stems and trunks with peeling bark resemble cinnamon, such as the Paperbark Maple and climbing hydrangea.
Try a Stewartia with a camouflaged appearance. Stewartia is a small tree that flowers mid-summer. Both of these trees work well in smaller garden or closer to the home where you can view them up close.
2. Colorful Branches
Coral Bark Maple is a small tree with brilliant bark on its young branches. As the foliage drops in autumn, the tree’s bark begins to turn an attractive coral-pink which intensifies in cold weather. The winter bark color is deeper the more sun it receives.
Coral Maple Bark
Although fairly boring in the summer, red twig dogwoods add cheery colors in yellow, orange and fiery reds in winter. The branch color persists all season long and is dramatic when planted in masses. They require cutting back every few years as newer branches have the boldest color. ‘Mid-Winter Fire’ and ‘Arctic Fire’ are good choices.
Red Twig Dogwoods
3. Bright Berries
Beautyberry is a native shrub found in the southeast that grows 3-5 foot tall and wide with arching stems. Its foliage is not spectacular and is hardly worth looking at. As the foliage turns in fall and the leaves drop, the stems are concealed by bunches of small bright berries. The large amount of bright purple berries is striking during a time when there isn’t anything else found this color during winter.
Winterberry provides a winter show of abundant bright red berries covering the stems that can persist into spring. It’s a large, native shrub found in wetland areas along the east coast. Once the leaves have dropped, you are left with an astonishing view of thousands of berries adorning every stem. The cut stems are a bright addition to holiday cut greens. The berries are usually red but yellow varieties may be also be found. (‘Berry Heavy Gold’) This is an easy plant to grow and has few problems but keep in mind that it suckers and will grow very large. One male winterberry (‘Jim Dandy’) is required to pollinate female shrubs for heavier fruiting.
Checkerberry is an evergreen groundcover that is native to eastern North America. Leaves are glossy, rounded and leathery and the plant grows 3-6 inches high. Plants will spread over time to form a groundcover. White flowers appear early summer and change into edible bright red berries. Leaves and berries have the aroma and taste of wintergreen. This plant grows well in shade with medium water requirements.‘Berry Heavy’® Heavier berry set than the species Try ‘Red Sprite’ for a more compact variety that grows to only 2-3 feet.
4. Plant late winter/early spring bloomers
Kick winter gloom with early bloomers. Witch Hazel, also native, blooms February/March with yellow to copper blooms and is one of the first plants to flower in New England. Give it some space as it will can become more than 12 feet wide.
Lenten Rose has semi-evergreen foliage and blooms in February-April. The flowers pop up before new foliage and remain for several weeks. The foliage will look tired by spring, so freshen it up by cutting it back.
Not to be overlooked, crocus planted in a warm sunny spot are reliably one of the first harbingers of spring.
No matter what you’re looking for in a landscape for your home, the experts at Land Design Associates can help. Contact us today to learn more or give us a call at 781-769-3286.