Planning Now For More Color In Winter

Planning Now For More Color In Winter

March is a great month for advance planning, but when we think about what we’ll plant this spring and summer, don’t forget to access how your landscape looks now. I don’t know about you, but the view out some of my windows in the winter and early spring is of tree trunks, oak leaves, and random wild vines. If your yard also borders some wild or wooded spaces, chances are what you’re seeing is gray and brown, gray and brown. Accented, perhaps, by more brown.

So when you make your planting plans for the coming year, start by making a list of some of the plants you can place next to or in front of those oak-filled, wild areas to give you color and pleasing textures all winter as well as the rest of the year. Here are just a few suggestions to consider.

Two of my favorite plants for winter color are the Japanese White Pine (on the left) and the Golden Hinoki False Cypress. Both do well in part-sun and are nice edge-of-the-woods plants because they aren’t huge and imposing like a Green Giant Arborvitae or a Leyland Cypress would be.


Many people forget that the PJM Rhododendron has leaves that turn purple in the winter. Perfect for cold-season color….and it’s the first Rhododendron to flower in the spring.


If you want a tall evergreen that’s not too heavy or imposing, look for the Blue Atlas Cedar, but not the weeping form. It’s got blue-green needles. Here you see the branch of my Blue Atlas with a Rhododendron in the background.


Looking for color and texture in a smaller plant? Check out the upright Cephalotaxus, aka the upright plum yew. This one is harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’ – a deep green with an upright shape. Note that this is an evergreen that deer usually leave alone. It’s slow growing and pretty without being overpowering.


Finally, if you want an evergreen that stays under 3 feet tall, look at the ‘Otto Luyken’ cherry laurel. This plant also makes a good shrub for foundation beds where you need plants that won’t cover the windows.

When you’re making your shopping list for landscape plants this spring, note how much sun your area gets and how much space you have for the shrubs to grow in. Then bring these details into the garden center and we’ll help you find just the right evergreens for the edge of your woodlands. You’ll never have to stare at gray and brown for five months again!

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