The Gift of Color in a Winter Landscape

A garden is for all seasons, but it’s always possible to super-charge your landscape for your favorite season. For some people, it’s all about garden beds bursting with summer-blooming perennials (they can put up with barren-looking beds during the dormant season).

But winter interest will be a priority for you if you are fond of the way icicles glisten in the sun on a Red Twig Dogwood or the way snow on the branches of conifers lets the imagination see horticultural “caricatures.”

Coral Bark Maple

If winter is your favorite season, consider adding these plants to your garden:

  • Plants and trees with red bark. These include the Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’), the Coral Bark Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’) and the Marina Strawberry Tree (Arbutus x ‘Marina’).
  • Colorful conifers. Consider the Blue Ice Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica ‘Blue Ice’) and the Dwarf Golden Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’).
  • Trees and plants that bloom in late winter. You might use the Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis sp.), the early blooming Hellebores (Lenten rose sp.) and the Winter Sun hybrid Oregon Grape (Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’).

It’s a bonus that most of these versatile plants can have a place in any garden.

Take a break from the holiday buzz to breathe in the clean winter air and take a look around your garden. Envision where you might like to give your landscape the gift of color.

— Season’s Greetings from Michael Muro Garden Design





Deciduous Delights

Birch trunksNovember is a great time to plant deciduous trees. With fall foliage all but gone, trees with interesting bark take center stage, giving a new dimension to the winter landscape. Many deciduous trees also bloom in early spring, before most other flowering plants, making them a welcome sight after a long winter.

Bring in Jaquemontii Birch trees to create layers that pop when set against a backdrop of dark conifers and other broadleaf plants and trees. Their bright white trunks and branches reflect light and cast dramatic long shadows in the low winter sun. Add early blooming white Snowdrops and Helleborus for lovely bright spots that relieve the post holiday-doldrums. If a stone patio or walkway is part of your plan, considering incorporating silvery quartzite that sparkles as it reflects light. Up-lighting and elegant holiday lights can add an almost-ethereal dimension.

Red Twig Dogwood, the handsome Paperbark Maple, and the exotic-looking Snakebark Maple also have striking bark that stands out in the winter landscape. Plant the trees in groves for a dramatic affect on a large property or use one in a planter to create a focal point on a tiny in-city balcony.

You might not spend as much time outdoors this winter but a look out the window at a beautiful winter garden can lift the spirits on even the darkest days.

Contact us to learn more about garden planning, landscape design, and fall planting.


Plant Early Bloomers Now

Fall is a great opportunity to reevaluate your garden. Coniferous evergreens are an excellent way to add color and structure to the winter landscape.  There are many dwarf varieties to work with. Try the slate blue ‘Globe Blue Spruce’ paired with golden- yellow ‘Gold Drop Dwarf Hinoki Cypress’. Think about plants and trees that bloom in late winter like Sweet Box, Chinese Witch Hazel and Star Magnolia. Early bloomers remind us that the days are getting longer and the garden is beginning to stir.
Plant fall annuals and trim back weepy perennials, adding ones that bloom late into fall like Penisetum, Redbeckia and Echinacea. When choosing a palette for bulbs, select varieties that bloom early, mid and late season, ensuring a long colorful show –  starting with Snowdrops in late January.
Many nurseries have sales at this time of year so it is a great time to shop while supplies are still good!
Contact me for a design consultation and more on planning a fall garden tune-up.
Best of the season to you.

Michael Muro Garden Design offers garden planning and comprehensive landscape design in Washington State.