It is that time of the year when the winter chill sets in, snow envelopes the world and Santa arrives calling with a sackful of goodies. Won’t you love to look forward to a winter landscape that calls in for less-to-no maintenance? Here are a few ideas for you to make your winter landscaping a cake walk, with some easy-care plants that would liven up the icy environs.
Best plants to create winter interest
Holly, commonly called Winterberry, is easy to grow. It sheds its shiny, green leaves during late fall; it bursts into bright red berries, unfolding a vibrant red splash against your white landscape. You should plant male and female hollies in close proximity, to help pollinate and bear fruit. Put up a branch covered in berries in a vase to bring indoors the festive atmosphere.
Sometimes called ‘Winter Bloom’, witch hazel is a popular ornamental shrub or rarely a small tree. It carries clusters of rich yellow to orange red flowers which bloom from fall to late winter. The flowers emit a heady fragrance to perfume the air. The flowers are delicate, twisted and ribbon-like, yet remarkably durable in less harsh conditions.
An all-season showstopper, the thick evergreen leaves of sweet box will liven up your yard. The plant breaks into sweet-smelling little white blossoms in late winter that grow subsequently into little red berries.
Jutting out of winter snow, this tough and erect ornamental grass lends winter interest to your landscape. The spiked flowers filled with seeds attract winged visitors like cardinals and juncos. You get to watch birds flutter about, which goes unnoticed under the foliage usually.
Commonly called Hellebore, Christmas rose is an evergreen perennial flowering plant with glossy, dark green, leather-like leaves. It is called by other names such as ‘Winter Rose’ and ‘Lenten Rose’. It bears pure white flowers that change into pink on aging as winter chill intensifies. What’s the bonus? It is easy to grow and lives longer.
Snow drop bears bell-shaped milky white flowers with green or greenish yellow floral segments at the center. The flowers, resembling drops of snow and flowering on a slender stalk, are pretty little additions to enhance the winter interest.
Winter landscaping tips
Focus on hardscape
Winter is the best time to refurbish existing hardscape such as a trellis, a picket fence, a vintage garden bench, an arbor, a set of mailboxes or a vintage garden sculpture. Mull over and figure out where the central piece would draw the most attention, and make it the owner’s pride and neighbor’s envy. Color your hardscape with a brilliant coat of paint (in line with zonal guidelines) to offset the snowy, gray background.
Dress up your yard with containers
Bring out your containers – hanging basket, window box or any urn that can stand the frosty weather. Give it a new lease of life with a coat of bright paint. Fill with evergreen branches – mix textures and colors to craft an arresting scheme. Adorn the holders with evergreens, twigs of unusual shapes and boughs with colorful berries.
Create a warm retreat
Identify a spot in your yard for a blazing fire. Arrange some chairs and drape with wool throws for added warmth – sure would it be the right nook to enjoy dessert and make merry after dinner.
Protect plants from snow damage
Consult with a landscaping professional on ways to protect shrubs and trees that are prone to damage from snow and ice. Plan ahead in fall to understand the kind of protection your plants would need during harsh winter season.
Leaf mulch, burlap wraps, Styrofoam cones or small plastic greenhouses could act as winter shields to warm up tender plants.