In the stretch between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, a Northwest garden risks seeming anti-climactic or even bleak. To add color and spirit, look to trees and shrubs that have berries. In the winter landscape they provide an awe-inspiring silhouette, whether set against a backdrop of white snow or gray skies or shimmering in the winter sun.
Plants with fruits and berries that ripen in winter bring lively colors. They’re also an important food source for winter birds and early returning flocks.
When I design and update gardens, I use an all-seasons approach that includes plants and trees that produce berries in winter. A few of my favorite choices for winter interest include:
Winterberry – Ilex verticillata:
A deciduous holly bearing lots of big, juicy bright red berries on erect stems. Winterberry looks stunning against a backdrop of coniferous evergreens like the Blue Ice Arizona Cypress.
Arrowhead Viburnum — Viburnum dentatum:
A striking deciduous, woody shrub with drupes of deep blue berries. Arrowhead Viburnum is excellent mixed with variegated or golden-colored foliage that set off its fruit.
Scarlet Firethorn — Pyracantha coccinea:
An evergreen shrub with loads of big, red berries, often grown on trellises or espaliered. It’s a favorite with birds. I have seen a flock of hungry robins strip a Pyracantha bush of fruit in just minutes!
Gray Dogwood — Cornus racemosa:
A large deciduous shrub or small tree with dusty green leaves and white berries held on deep red sprays in winter. The Gray Dogwood mixes well with burgundy or dark-colored foliage that complements its foliage and berries.
Now is a great time to look around at berries. Take note of what you might like to plant this spring for next winter.
I hope these tips keep you active and motivated to be in your garden space.
Contact us to learn more about garden planning, landscape design, and winter landscapes.