When I’m feeling cranky I’ve been known to say, “Winter interest? It’s a cup of tea and a good book.” But this isn’t really true. I want plants in my landscape that capture as much of my attention in the cold season as the steaming beverage and novel. In fact, both are a necessity for surviving a cold, New England winter. So today I walked around the garden center and took photos of a few plants that bring smiles to my face from early December through February, and I hope that they might cheer you as well.
Winterberry holly is native to New England. In fact, you can see this plant’s red berries as you drive along route 6A in early December. But why settle for a road trip to see this cheerful color when you can plant it in your own yard? The variety Berry Nice has extra large fruit.
Variegated boxwood not only adds contrast as a landscape shrub, but in future years you’ll love cutting it for use in holiday decorations. Once you have a variegated boxwood in your garden you’ll be looking for places where you can add more.
If you have shade or part-shade you can’t go wrong with Skimmia. The female plants have red berries, and the males flower all winter long. And if that isn’t enough, this shrub stays under three feet tall! Plant one in a large container for the holidays and then move it to the garden in the spring. Win-win.
This Jacob hellebore, part of the Gold Collection of Helleborus perennials, is just coming into flower. But even in the snow this evergreen perennial will be flowering from late-November through February! It’s not only great for your winter window boxes, but perfect in shade gardens or foundation plantings too.
Here are the Jacob hellebores flowering in the snow in my garden a couple of years ago. Tip: plant these where you’ll see them frequently all winter. They will lift your spirits as surely as that cup of tea and a good book. With the right combination of colorful plants you’ll look forward to winter every year.