Late-Winter Garden Design Checklist

Witch hazel, Hellebore and Sweet Box are blooming

Some of my favorite times to get outdoors are clear, brisk winter days. For avid gardeners there is is plenty to do when the rain stops.

Bu, if you’d rather stay indoors, there is much to do on the planning front. Late winter is a good time to take inventory of your garden and see what might make it more appealing at this time next year. Winter is also a great time to get a start on those design projects that seem to stay on your list year after year.

Here are some things to consider as you do your late-winter planning:

  • Screening and privacy: Do you have enough when your deciduous trees lose their leaves?
  • Circulation: Are pathways in the best location?  Is it easy to walk the whole garden and keep your feet dry?
  • Structure: Are garden focal points positioned for views inside the house, too?
  • Color: Do perennial borders need something additional for winter interest?
  • Moisture control: Look for standing water and muddy areas that don’t seem to drain all winter. Pay attention to annoying wet spots 
and make decisions about drainage issues so they can be resolved in drier months during landscape construction or as part of other summer gardening projects.

For these and other landscape planning questions, contact us for a design consultation. We can provide insight into the best options for your garden.

April Plant Of The Month

For April we’d like to introduce you Paeonia japonica or Mountain Peony.

Shade Peony BloomThis choice woodland species from Japan thrives in the dappled shade in contrast with other species of Peonies that require full sun.  It has delicate,clusters of ovate leaves and simple single white, cup-shaped flowers that hover above its stems during springtime.

It requires shade with dappled morning sun or bright light but never direct sun.

As a perennial, it also has a dormant period at the end of summer so it’s a good accent amongst other plants with a longer growth cycle while it is dormant.  Peony japonica blends with favorites such as Ferns, Hellebores, Hosta and Trillium.  However, it needs loose, fertile soil to grow well and will be overtaken by more vigorous plants so give it some breathing room.

It is captivating as a shade specimen or in a pot nestled among others in light shade.  Pictured here in bud and bloom.

Not for the impatient, it is slow to establish, grows slowly and needs ideal conditions to thrive.  A great plant for the connoisseur gardener!

To learn more about garden planning, landscape design, and easy plants for your garden, please contact us.

Shade Peony 2 BloomsShade Peony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Plant Of The Month

The Silver Dollar Lenten Rose is one of the first Hellebore to bloom during winter.  Its muted emerald green foliage is mottled with soft yellow variegation and begins to emerge in late fall just a couple months after going dormant.  Once the stems and leaves develop in late fall, flowers buds begin to appear at the end of the year.  Each blossom consists of a profusion of intricate flowers clustered on large, arching, stems. The creamy moon yellow flowers bring out the same color in the foliage.  Together they create an eye catching display at a time of year when most plants are not doing much.

In contrast to other Hellebore, it foliage is as interesting as its flowers and holds up throughout summer, even though it is technically a perennial.  Because of it long life cycle,  it can be a mainstay of an ornamental landscape.  It prefers some indirect or morning sunlight to keep the foliage robust, large and brilliantly colored, but keep it out of deep shade or afternoon sun for best results.  Like most Lenten Rose it is pest resistant and doesn’t need rich soil or much water once established.

Silver Dollar is a good companion with dark green or blue-toned conifers, burgundy foliage and any rich, deep green.  Pure white and bright yellow are best avoided in direct vicinity as the tend to compete with the otherworldly lemon chiffon color of the flowers.

Contact us to learn more about garden planning, landscape design, and stunning plants for winter landscapes.

Look For Winter Blooming Perennials Now!

Lenten Rose, Snow Drops and Cyclamen are flowering now. It is a good time to think about adding these to your garden for next year.

It is also a good time for a stroll through The Washing Park Arboretum, Kubota Gardens and other local parks and botanical gardens to see what is blooming now.  You will notice other plants and trees that stand out.  Many extraordinary and colorful  varieties of conifers and deciduous trees with intriguing bark are striking during the winter months.

Enjoy the view and fresh air or take notes and pictures if you are looking to update your garden and make it more “winter friendly”.

Back home, look at your own garden and decide what adjustments would make a show at this time next year.  If you are getting ideas for a new garden or major renovation, a garden designer will help you to select the right plants and incorporate the best choices into a comprehensive plan for your site.

Whether you need help with plant selection or a comprehensive landscape plan, I tailor my services to you project and lifestyle.  Contact me if now you are looking to make changes to your garden in 2015.

Heleborus niger 'HGC Jacob'