Monthly Archives: January 2017

Variegated Solomon’s Seal

If you don’t already grow variegated Solomon’s Seal in your shade garden, this is the year to start. This charming, visually appealing perennial is similar to hostas, but has its own unique character that will add beauty, texture and interest to your landscape. Furthermore, it is deer-resistant, making it perfect for a yard that may lose a few too many plants to wandering wildlife.

About Variegated Solomon’s Seal

Variegated Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum falcatum ‘Variegatum’) is a low-maintenance plant native to Europe and Asia. A landscaping favorite for its overall beauty and visual richness, it sports 2-3-foot tall gracefully arching, reddish or burgundy stems. The stems are lined with narrow green leaves streaked in pure white. Beneath the stems, in pairs, from late spring to early summer, drip tiny, fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers. In the autumn, small, round, black fruit replaces the flowers and leaves turn golden yellow. Overall, these clumping plants grow 2-3 feet tall and wide, making them a suitable size for many different landscape designs. As clumps grow, they can be divided every 2-3 years in spring to give you even more of these lovely plants to work with, or you can allow the colony to naturalize in your landscape for a lush carpet of foliage and flowers.

This plant is quite hardy and is not seriously bothered by either insects or diseases, though snails and slugs can be a problem. Leaf spot and rust are very rare problems and easily overcome with diligent care.

Variegated Solomon’s Seal in Your Landscape

These are versatile plants that can do well in any full or part-shade area of your landscape. Add Solomon’s Seal to a woodland garden or shady border, or beneath a broad, spreading tree. This is a great plant to anchor rain gardens, because it likes moist soils and is not overly sensitive to too much water. At the same time, it will also tolerate drought and drier soils, making it an ideal addition to add growth and greenery to rock gardens.

Variegated Solomon’s Seal can look stunning on its own, or adds even more texture and interest when planted with hostas and ferns or when filling in spaces between other shrubs or ornamental grasses. Plant it in fertile, moist, well-drained soil, preferably in fully shade or only minimal dappled sun. Amend the soil with compost as needed, especially while the plants are young. Water well until the plants are established, then enjoy the beauty as this low-maintenance wonder takes good care of itself.

Tooling Around in the Garden: Selecting and Caring for Garden Tools

Let’s face it – purchasing a new garden tool is usually not the first thing on your mind when you visit your friendly neighborhood garden center. Most of us tend to gravitate toward the latest and greatest herbaceous eye-candy without considering whether we have all the equipment necessary to prepare and care for it. The right tools, however, are critical to keep all your plants in top condition, and selecting quality garden tools is no simple matter. You want one that meets your needs, is available when needed, is easy on you, is long lasting and is not too expensive or too hard to maintain.

Choosing a New Tool

With so many tools on the market, choosing one that meets your needs can be a daunting task. First consider what type of work you will be doing, and what tools are required to accomplish your goal. Choosing the right tool for the job will make the work easier and more efficient. If you’re not sure, ask – our employees will be happy to assist your selection.

When you find a tool you are interested in, before you buy it, try it! Basic tools in new designs are available to the consumer every year. Those that are ergonomically designed, to align with the natural mechanics of our bodies, are meant to lessen the stress on muscles and joints as we garden. So pick up the tool and see how it feels in your hands. Make sure the weight and size are well suited to your strength and frame. Does it feel comfortable as you simulate the way it will be used? If it feels awkward, you will not be able to use it properly and may be tempted to neglect your garden chores instead.

Caring for New Tools

When you find a tool that meets your needs and is comfortable, you will want to have it around for a long time. Plan to purchase the highest quality tools that your budget will allow. If you purchase tools simply because they are the least expensive, chances are they will not last, and you will eventually spend more money to replace them.

Proper care and storage will add to the longevity of your garden tools. Hose off tools to remove soil and chemicals after every use. Allow tools to dry thoroughly before storing. For hardened soil, use a wire brush. Occasionally cleaning metal surfaces with oil will help to keep tools lubricated and prevent rust. Keep all moving parts oiled as well to enhance performance. Oil wooden handles at least twice a year with linseed oil to help prevent drying and splintering. For ease of use, keep tools with cutting surfaces sharp by filing them as often as needed. Check frequently and tighten any loose screws and bolts. Store all garden tools in a dry place with tool surfaces off the ground.

Every garden tool you own is important to the health, beauty and productivity of your garden and landscape. Be sure you choose the best tools and maintain them well to make the most of all your gardening.

Tomato plant and garden tools

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The Edible Garden

Who said fruits and vegetables can’t be show-offs in the ornamental beds? Mix fruits and veggies into your flower and shrub borders to add drama, texture, color and, most importantly, food!

Blueberries

Displaying white flowers tinged in pink in little tassels during late spring, blueberries will grow only in moist, peaty soil with a pH lower than 5.5. The best way to grow them is in an informal border or along a woodland setting with other acid-loving plants like rhododendrons. To ensure good pollination, two different cultivars should be planted together. Plants should be protected from birds with netting when the fruit begins to ripen. Apply cottonseed meal to the soil in spring, water regularly during dry summers and prune the plants in winter by cutting out dead or damaged branches. You can also lightly trim plants in spring to keep them compact. Blueberries are rarely attacked by insects or diseases, but will look pale and chlorotic if the soil is not acid enough.

Raspberries and Blackberries

Although not particularly ornamental, bramble berry bushes, when trained on wires, offer a nice summer screen, or they can be grown against a fence or wall. Both raspberries and blackberries require slightly acidic soil, adequate moisture and will need support. Plants will succeed in light shade, but prefer a sunny location. Mulch in early spring with manure or compost, then cut old canes down to the ground after fruiting in early to mid-summer. No more than 5-6 strong stems should grow from each plant. Protect fruit from birds and squirrels to ensure enough left to harvest.

Strawberries

In the past few years strawberry plants have become increasingly popular for their ornamental qualities. Beautiful white flowers with yellow centers become delicious, glowing red strawberries. When choosing cultivars, be sure to try both June-bearing and ever-bearing selections to extend your harvest. Alpine varieties are perfect for edging a path. Strawberries require deep, well-drained, nutrient-rich soil for the best results. Plant in early spring and replace plants every three years for the best-tasting berries and most productivity. Fertilize in spring and cut off runners as they form to keep plants fruiting well, unless you are starting new transplants. Spread salt hay around plants as fruit starts to develop to keep the berries free from soil and well ventilated. Protect from birds and watch for slugs and botrytis (moldy, grey fungus) during wet springs.

Grapes

Trained over an arbor or combined with clematis on a pergola, grapes add an elegant touch to any landscape. Plant grapes in well-drained, fertile soil where there is full sun. When growing on a trellis, limit your grapevine to a single stem or trunk. Train the leading shoot vertically and the lateral shoots horizontally. There are also various other ways to train and prune grapes, but do not let this task scare you. Grapevines are very forgiving. Birds will love the rich, aromatic fruit so you may want to protect several areas to ensure a good harvest.

Rhubarb

Offering beautifully colored stalks of pink, white or red, rhubarb can be grown in any kind of soil in a sunny spot. You can pick from this trouble-free plant from spring until early summer. Only the stems of rhubarb are edible; the leaves should be discarded. Add plenty of manure to the soil, keep damp during dry summers and remove tall stems before they produce flowers. Although decorative, larger stems tend to reduce plant vigor. Divide every five years or as needed to control plant size. Watch for tunneling insects on the leaves and treat with rotenone as needed.

Figs

Adding an air of distinction where space is limited, a fig tree can be grown in a large pot. Forgiving figs do well in poor soil, but need a sunny, protected area, which may mean a south-facing wall. These ancient trees tend to produce more fruit when their root systems are restricted. Therefore, when planting in the ground, it is a good idea to dig a hole about 3 feet wide and line with bricks. Mix plenty of bone meal in with the soil, too. Mulch fig trees in late spring with compost and water in dry weather while the fruit is growing. You can also encourage these trees to produce more fruit by pinching new shoots in spring.

With careful planning, it’s easy to mix beautiful edibles in with your landscaping beds, allowing you to do double duty with your gardening and landscaping combined and dramatically increase what you can harvest and enjoy.

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Early Spring-Blooming Perennials

When winter is long and dreary, it can seem like your precious flowerbeds will never burst into life again. Early spring flowers, however, are precious proof that winter is on its way out, and some can even bloom in bright, cheerful colors right through lingering snow. Yet we often forget these beauties, overcome with the bold, familiar bulb displays of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and more. This is unfortunate, because many of these perennials have a subtle charm that complements bulbs and shrubs which bloom in early spring, and they add even more variety, texture and color to your landscape.

Perennials for Early Spring Blooms

When choosing the best plants to be a stunning early spring display, the amount of sun or shade the location receives is the most critical factor for the plants’ success and the gorgeousness of their growth.

For a sunny location, opt for…

  • Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
  • English Daisy (Bellis perennis)
  • Mountain Pinks (Phlox subulata)
  • Rockcress (Aubrieta)
  • Candytuft (Iberis)
  • Wall Cress (Arabis)

For part to full summer shade locations…

  • Pasqueflower (Anemone pulsatilla)
  • Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
  • Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia)
  • Dead Nettle (Lamium)
  • Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis)
  • Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)

Planting Perennials for Early Spring Blooms

When you choose which early spring bloomers to add to your landscape, consider the plants’ overall mature size, soil requirements and both watering and fertilizing needs to be sure they can reach their full potential. If you choose to plant them in fall, take extra care to protect tender roots and give the plants time to thoroughly establish themselves before the first hard freeze. Good compost and mulching around the new plants can help protect and nourish them through the first winter, and they’ll be ready to burst into colorful bloom in just a few months.

Many of these plants are good mid-level bloomers ideal for flowerbeds. They can fill in around other small accent trees and shrubs and provide a lush background for other blooms or mounding plants in front of the bed. They can fill in around trees for a more naturalized look, and can be great in borders. Just be sure to plant at least a few where you’ll have a good view of their beauty from indoors and you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of their early blooms even if it’s a bit too cold to be outdoors in your garden!

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Pruning Fundamentals

Pruning is essential to keep your trees and shrubs in good shape, but it can be intimidating if you’ve never pruned before. Once you learn the fundamentals, however, you’ll realize it isn’t as hard as it may seem.

Tree Pruning

The first thing to look for when pruning a tree is broken, diseased or dead branches, all of which should be removed to preserve the overall health of the tree. The next thing to be concerned with are suckers and water sprouts. Suckers can be either bottom suckers coming from the root system or growths originating from the trunk. In either case, they reduce water and nutrient flow to the main portion of the tree and should be removed. Another problem growth is called a water sprout, which is very noticeable because it grows straight up from a branch. Water sprouts also rob water and nutrients from the tree.

After all of these problems have been corrected, a second look at the tree should let you know what other limbs should be removed. Removing large limbs is perhaps the most difficult part of tree pruning. It requires two cuts in which one cut removes the weight of the limb and prevents tearing of the bark. The second cut is made closer to the trunk and removes the remaining stub, but should be no closer than the branch collar. Smaller limbs may also be removed to help preserve the desired shape and size of the tree if needed.

Pruning Deciduous Shrubs

Many deciduous shrubs can really benefit from annual pruning. Pruning not only controls the size of these shrubs, but it can also increase flower production and encourage colorful bark.

Let’s begin with a few of the more common shrubs, such as lilac, forsythia and weigela. These shrubs are most commonly known for their flowers, so we should prune them accordingly. By removing a portion of their oldest stems entirely we can encourage younger growth, which will give us more flowers. Plants such as red and yellow twig dogwood have colorful stems which can be enhanced by removing the older gray stems. Another group of plants that benefit from pruning are the spireas and potentillas. These plants are treated a little differently in that they are cut down to about 4 or 6 inches in the fall or early spring. By pruning them this way, we increase their flowering and yet remove all of their twigginess that would look unsightly throughout the winter and early spring.

There are many other trees and shrubs that require more detailed pruning recommendations and careful guidelines. Please email us your questions or stop by the store, we always have people available to answer your questions whether they involve specific plant recommendations or which pruner is the right one for you and the pruning job you need to do.

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Reaching New Heights with Tall Perennials

Did your garden seem to come up short last year? Were there areas where some height could have added excitement, texture and pizzazz to your landscape? If so, grab your garden journal and make some notes! We have an excellent list of perennials coming this spring and it’s sure to include the colors, heights and types of plants to add a vertical punch to your garden. Our top picks include…

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Of course, this is just a partial listing of taller perennials available in the coming months. Delivery trucks filled with beautiful, healthy and vibrant plants arrive nearly every day. Make your wish-list and come on in to see us on a regular basis. That way, you’ll have the best selection of our incoming beauties and can choose the perfect tall plants to add a vertical lift to your garden

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The Benefits of Plants in the Workplace

Time spent in nature is well known to provide many physical, mental and emotional benefits, but what if your work schedule and career keep you in an office without many opportunities for heading outdoors? You can bring the outdoors in and reap many of the same benefits.

Plants Can Improve Your Workplace

There has been extensive research done regarding the benefits of plants in the workplace. With full time employees spending approximately one-quarter of their lives at work it is important that these buildings provide an environment of beauty, health and comfort. Studies confirm that there are both physiological and psychological benefits to surrounding yourself with nature at work. An eight-month study conducted by a Texas A&M University research team has concluded that plants significantly reduce workplace stress and enhance employee productivity, a win-win situation for both employer and employee. Other studies have verified those findings, as well as expanded the list of benefits plants can provide when used judiciously as part of an indoor workplace.

The presence of plants in the workplace can…

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce stress
  • Increase humidity
  • Reduce illness
  • Purify air
  • Reduce dust
  • Lower energy costs
  • Quicken employee response time
  • Enhance problem solving ability
  • Spark creativity
  • Increase brain activity
  • Provide a positive outlook
  • Act as a mood elevator
  • Have a calming affect
  • Boost learning
  • Contribute to noise reduction
  • Improve office appearance
  • Reduce distractions

With so many obvious benefits just by including plants in office décor, every office – whether it is a large corporation, a simple business or a cozy home office – should include at least a few plants.

Bringing Plants to Work

There are many easy ways to blend plants into office décor. Popular ways to integrate plants into the office include…

  • Larger potted plants or containers in a greeting or reception area.
  • Ferns or hanging pots in broad windows.
  • A ficus tree or other large pot near a water cooler.
  • Pothos or other trailing plants on top of cabinets in a break area.
  • Small plants and flowers on individual desks.
  • Decorating for holidays with seasonal plants.
  • Giving office plants as gifts for work anniversaries, welcomes, etc.

When choosing plants for the office, be sure to opt for plants that will function best in the environment. Take into consideration temperatures, light levels and humidity so the plants will thrive. Selecting low-maintenance plants that can withstand good-natured neglect is also wise, so they will still thrive even when project deadlines, committee meetings and vacation days may make their care sporadic. Fortunately, there are many great plants that can liven up an office, and each one will bring great benefits to the workplace.

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Flirting with Spring

In January and February, winter flirts with spring. Despite snow on the ground, there will be occasional warm days, balmy breezes and stunning blue skies that remind us of the rich colors of spring. On these flirtatious days, quince, forsythia and pussy willow begin to emerge from dormancy. With this slight swelling of buds, it is time to cut a few branches to bring spring indoors, so even when winter reappears with the next freeze or storm, we’re reminded of the warmer times to come.

Forcing Branches

Just like forcing bulbs, forcing branches will bring their buds into full beauty even if the outside weather isn’t quite right yet. To force branches, select plants that have set their buds in the fall or early winter. Look for branches with plump flower buds, and cut branches that you would have normally pruned in order to preserve the shape and health of the plant.

Next, scrape about 2 inches of the bark from the pruned end of the branch and make a 3-5 inch cut up the branch (lengthwise from the pruned end) to allow water to be absorbed. You can also split the end by carefully hammering it, but avoid crushing the tissues. Fill a tall container or vase with room-temperature water and floral preserver, then place the cut branches in it. Place the arrangement in a dimly lit room for 2-3 days, then move into a brighter area (but no direct sunlight). Change the water and cut 1 inch off the bottom of the stem each week. Mist the branches daily. Although they may take up to 3 weeks to bloom, the delightful bursts of color will be a celebrated reward for your time and efforts.

Flowering Branches for Forcing

Depending on when you want your buds to bloom, there are a variety of great branches you can work to force into brilliance even when spring is weeks away.

Early bloomers…

  • Witch Hazel
  • Cornelian Cherry
  • Forsythia
  • Pussy Willow
  • Azalea
  • Flowering Quince

For Later Blooms…

  • Magnolia
  • Apple
  • Crab Apple
  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Hawthorn
  • Red Bud
  • Mockorange

 Decorating With Forced Branches

There are many different ways you can add a little spring glory to your interior décor with forced branches. Consider…

  • Using blooming branches in lieu of any flowers in vases.
  • Putting shorter branches in bud vases on a windowsill.
  • Adding branches to candle centerpieces or other arrangements.
  • Twining thinner branches around a wreath form.
  • Using the tallest branches in a tall, thin floor vase.

Spring will be here before you know it, and you can speed it along when you force branches to enjoy their blooms a few weeks early!

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Japanese Pieris

Looking for an easy-care spring-blooming shrub that supplies year-round beauty? Take a look at Japanese Pieris this season – you won’t be disappointed!

About Japanese Pieris

Pieris japonica is an upright evergreen shrub with spreading branches. It has the potential to grow 6-8 feet high and 4-6 feet wide. This is an easy to care for four-season plant that can be a stunner in the yard throughout the year. Except when they emerge in early spring with a bronzy hue, the leaves of the Pieris are lance-shaped and glossy deep-green throughout the year. The flowers appear in April and last well into May. The urn-shaped blooms, like those of lily-of-the-valley, hang in heavy, drooping, pendulous clusters that are 3-6 inches long. The fruit is ornamental and will persist through the winter, but it is best to remove the fruit so that the plant will put its energy into developing next year’s flowers.

Growing Tips

Not as fussy as other ericaceous plants like heath and heather, Pieris prefers a moist, well-drained, acidic soil with a pH in the range of 5.0-6.0. When planting, amend soil with plenty of peat moss; this will aid in drainage and help make the soil more acidic. Organic matter like compost should be added to compacted soil to increase drainage and should also be added to sandy soil to enhance water retaining capability. Sulfur may be added to the soil to lower the pH if it is too high. After planting, mulch the soil around the base of the plant with two inches of bark mulch, making sure to keep it from touching the trunk of the shrub. Pine bark mulch is a good choice when mulching Pieris because it will acidify the soil as it decomposes.

Pieris likes a semi-shady location and will flower best in areas where it receives some sun during the day. Protect all broadleaf evergreens from the prevailing winter winds. If this is not possible, spray them in the winter with Wilt-Pruf, an anti-desiccant, to prevent winter burn. Pieris must be watered frequently during the first year after planting to encourage root growth. The addition of a root stimulator at planting time will encourage the plant to quickly create deep, strong roots. After becoming established, Pieris is relatively drought tolerant but does, of course, grow best with consistent adequate moisture and regular fertilization.

Pruning Pieris is usually not required. When purchasing, know the ultimate size of the cultivar you desire so that you may choose a suitable location in your landscape where the plant may grow to its full potential. If pruning is necessary, prune immediately after flowering so as not to interfere with the formation of next season’s buds.

Pieris in the Landscape

Pieris mixes well with shade-loving plants that require acidic soils such as azaleas and rhododendrons. Highly diversified in its design use, Pieris works well in a Japanese garden, woodland setting, shrub border, foundation or even a mass planting. The smaller varieties look great in containers and rock gardens. Pieris is deer-resistant as well, making it a great border or screen for other plants.

Cultivars

We have a great collection of Pieris cultivars to satisfy the novice as well as the discriminating connoisseur. Consider the following varieties, or come in to see the latest Pieris types and let us help you choose the best one for your landscape.

  • ‘Brookside’ – New growth is chartreuse. It has upright white flowers and a dwarf habit, maturing at only 1-2 feet tall.
  • ‘Brower’s Beauty’ – Compact form, 4 feet wide by 6 feet high. This is a heavy bloomer with large trusses of white flowers in spring.
  • ‘Cavatine’ – This is a low growing, compact mounding cultivar with white flowers that are held upright on the plant. This cultivar blooms slightly later than others.
  • ‘Dorothy Wycoff’ – Compact form, 4 feet wide by 6 feet high. Dorothy has dark red buds opening to pale pink flowers.
  • ‘Flaming Silver’ – Leaves emerge a brilliant red, turning green with a pink margin and finally becoming green with a silver-white edge. This cultivar matures at 6 feet wide by 6 feet high.
  • ‘Forest Flame’ – Light pink leaves mixed among brilliant red appear after the plant has finished blooming in spring. Flowers are white. This Pieris grows 8-10 feet tall.
  • ‘Mountain Fire’ – With its vivid fiery-red new growth, clean white flowers and a compact uniform growth habit, this Pieris has become increasingly popular in the last few years. ‘Mountain Fire’ matures at 4 feet high by 4 feet wide.
  • ‘Prelude’ – This cultivar would make a wonderful addition to any rock garden. It is a dense mounding, low growing plant with red new growth that blooms slightly later than most other Pieris.
  • ‘Valley Fire’ – The young growth on this vigorous grower is a brilliant red. This cultivar has white flowers that are larger than most other Pieris.
  • ‘Valley Valentine’ – This Pieris has deep maroon flower buds on pendulous flower stems that open into deep rose-pink, long-lasting flower chains. It is a slow-growing cultivar with a compact mounding habit maturing at about 5 feet tall by 6 feet wide.
  • ‘Variegata’ – Attractive leaves are green with white margins. Flowers gracefully droop in white clusters. This Pieris grows to 5 feet tall in the garden or landscape.

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Ideas for Creating Winter Interest in the Garden

How does your winter landscape look from inside your home? Even if it’s bleak and uninteresting, it can be easy to renovate and redecorate – just treat it like your home! Perk it up by using your indoor decorating skills outdoors.

When you decorate your house, you make it interesting and inviting by hanging pictures on the walls, creating focal points with houseplants or statuary, adding color and displaying collections. A garden is no different. Texture, layers, colors, scents, sounds and movement all combine to create a wonderful space to enjoy when outside in the summer and from inside the house during the winter.

If the temperatures are low and the snow is deep you can’t plant right now, but these plants could go on your wish list in your gardening journal to enhance the view next winter. Here are some suggestions to get your dreaming started…

Colorful Berries

Not only can berries add an easy burst of color to the landscape no matter which direction you view it from, but they can attract winter wildlife as well. Winter berries may be black, white, red, orange, pink, purple, blue or golden. Popular options include…

  • Hollies (Ilex spp.)
  • Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia)
  • Korean Barberry (Berberis koreana)
  • Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Florida Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Cotoneaster varieties
  • Creeping Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)
  • Winter King Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’)
  • Linden Viburnum (Viburnum dilatatum)
  • European Cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus)
  • Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)
  • Crabapples (Malus spp.)

Ornamental Bark

Exfoliating, or peeling, barks may reveal underlying bark of the same or differing color. Patterned, ridged or furrowed bark offers visual interest, especially against snow. Consider…

  • Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum)
  • Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum)
  • Arctic Fire Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
  • Redosier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
  • Cinnamon Clethra (Clethra acuminata)
  • Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)
  • Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)

Seed Heads

Although we often deadhead plants as blossoms die, leaving a few to overwinter is a fabulous idea. Not only do they provide uniquely organic winter sculptural interest to the garden, but they also provide feed and protection for birds. Winter seed heads, when backlit by the low winter sun, really add pop in the landscape. Try leaving some seed heads on the following plants…

  • Hydrangeas
  • Roses
  • Sedums such as Autumn Joy
  • Rudbeckias
  • Echinacea
  • Astilbe
  • Caryopteris

Unusual Branching

Especially beautiful when encased in ice, unusual branching patterns create natural focal points pulling the viewer’s vision through the winter garden. These plants prove a winter garden doesn’t need to be boring…

Twisting Growth:

  • Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’)
  • Curly Willow (Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’)
  • Twisty Cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Rasen-Sugi’)
  • Dwarf Twisty Baby Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Lacy Lady’)
  • Contorted White Pine (Pinus strobus ‘Contorta’)

Weeping Shape:

  • Weeping Cherry (Prunus subhirtella varieties)
  • ‘Lavender Twist’ Weeping Redbud (Cersis canadensis ‘Covey’)
  • Weeping Crabapples (Malus spp.)
  • Maples (Acer spp.)

Ornamental Grasses

Nothing adds structure to the winter garden like ornamental grasses. Whether blowing in the breeze and adding movement or covered with reflective ice, grasses add texture, volume and the subtle colors of seed heads. Great options include…

  • Silvergrass (Miscanthus spp.)
  • Switchgrass (Panicum spp.)
  • Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium)
  • Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’)
  • Fountaingrass (Pennisetum alopecuroides or P. setaceum ‘Purpureum’)
  • Tufted Hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa)
  • Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’)

Evergreens

No garden is complete without evergreens. Broadleaf evergreens and conifers establish the garden’s foundation. They anchor the beds when the perennials disappear, define boundaries and pathways and soften hard edges. Many broadleaf evergreens also provide summer flowers and fragrance.

Broadleaf Evergreens:

  • Aucuba japonica
  • Azalea and Rhododendron varieties
  • Boxwood varieties
  • Holly varieties
  • Laurels
  • Leucothue
  • Pieris varieties
  • Skimmia
  • Yucca

Conifers:

  • Spruces such as Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca var. albertiana ‘Conica’)
  • Silver Korean Fir (Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’)
  • Umbrella Pines such as Japanese Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata)
  • Junipers such as Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’)

Bulbs

Several early bulbs emerge in the winter. Planted in the fall near entrances and along walkways, they offer their promise spring is just around the corner and can add a burst of color to the end of winter. Popular options include…

  • Crocus varieties
  • Yellow Danford Iris (Iris dandordiae)
  • Snowdrops
  • Blue Silberian Squills (Scilla)
  • Snow Glories (Chionodoxa)
  • Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)
  • Hyacinths

Even though you can’t being planting now, you can begin planning, and perhaps even installing, non-plant garden features such as benches, yard art or lighting. LED lighting along pathways may be high on your list and we have the newest products to help your guests navigate to your doorway in any season. A bench, arbor or trellis adds structure and interest to the garden and will make a perfect meditation spot or reading nook when the weather warms up. You might want to plan a pond, the perfect spot for a fountain or even consider adding a sundial, fire pit or other unique feature to the yard. Whatever your garden dreams, we can help you achieve them, and you’ll never look out at your winter garden and wonder what could be again!

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