It may be cold outside, but a winter garden is definitely possible. Cold weather doesn’t mean your garden can’t provide a visual melody of seasonal delight. After all, gardening happens in four dimensions: height, width, depth and time. By selecting the right mix of winter-hardy plantings, you can enjoy great texture and foliage in every season. Here are a few gardening tips to help you jazz up your garden this winter.
Create Beautiful Structure
During the winter, the delicate branches of your favorite summer plants can create a beautiful latticework when set against a backdrop of white snow or pale sky. Planning your garden to include bushes like the red twig dogwood will ensure a striking splash of color, even when snow covers the ground. (The red twigs also look brilliant against an evergreen background.) In addition to bare branches, a curved arbor or geometric trellis can add a dramatic linear focal point, long after leaves have fallen. When you're shopping for plants, consider all four seasons and include a winter rotation into your design.
Add Notes of Color
Native plants like winterberry, russet buffalo berry and barberry offer bright-colored berries to liven up your winter garden. Did you know that Lewis and Clark enjoyed the vivid purple fruit of the serviceberry during their famous expedition? Of course, berries also provide food to our feathered friends. By including a variety of berries — red, yellow, purple — your garden will sing with color as the days begin to lengthen. Or, use sedum and sempervivum to create a succulent garden on a sunny windowsill, if you’d prefer to stay inside and keep warm until spring arrives.
The Steady Beat of Evergreens
Utah’s state tree, the blue spruce, and the historic pinyon pine give the winter garden its quiet mantle of perpetual green. They’re also well suited to low-water, easy-maintenance landscapes that replicate natural settings. Native bristlecone pine, Engelmann spruce and white fir trees add a splash of living color all year round. Hostas and lilies-of-the-valley are deer resistant and suited to low temperatures. Besides being an evergreen, boxwood is an excellent plant for traditional hedges. Use it to create a living wall or privacy screen that provides a green backdrop through even the coldest weather.
An Up-Tempo Intro to Spring
If you missed the optimum planting time for spring-flowering bulbs, go ahead and plant them anyway. Grown from cold-hardy rhizomes, snowdrops are one of the earliest to bloom, with small white bell-shaped flowers. Plant them near a south-facing wall, or in sheltered spots around the base of trees or under shrubs. Protect shallow roots from frost damage by adding a thick layer of mulch.
Winter gardening may sound like a contradiction in terms, but with some four-season thinking, you can design a garden that will look brilliant even in the depths of winter.
Millcreek Gardens carries a full line of Utah’s best roses, trees, shrubs and perennials.
Their friendly, experienced staff can guide you in the right direction with plant selection and they have all the products and accessories you need for your winter garden.