The Q&A Archives: Winter Plants and Landscaping

Question: Hello,

I have a question about landscaping and the winter season. It is now August and I want to start thinking about any winter landscaping suggestions that I may be able to plant now to give my garden a little winter lift when the winter arrives. Is there any plant or shrub available that you would suggest planting in the fall? Also what seedlings would you suggest can be planted in the fall for next spring and next summer bloom if any? Thanks for your help!

Answer: Certain shrubs have colorful twigs that show up distinctively in the winter garden. Red Osier, Ivory Halo, Siberian, Winter Beauty, and Silverleaf Dogwood all have red bark while Yellowtwig Dogwood is golden. Kerria is remarkable for its thin, lime-green twigs. For something unusual, plant Corkscrew Hazel with its twisting, contorted branches that are so loved by flower arrangers. Female Winterberry and Cotoneaster are worthy of inclusion for their striking red berries that last through January. February Daphne, flowers violet-red around late March at the same time Arnold Promise and Diane Witch-hazel are blooming. And try to include Pussy Willow somewhere in your garden with their fat, furry catkins that are so pretty when forced indoors during winter. It's available in shrub form as well as a standard weeping tree. You might also plant Flowering Cabbage and Kale, Asters, and Chrysanthemums; all are frost-tolerant annuals and will provide fall color.

To start spring off with a bang, plant cheery yellow Forsythia and elegant pink, white, or yellow Magnolia. Flowering Almond with masses of pink, rosette-like blossoms and Lilacs in shades of pink, mauve, purple, and pure white come next. Dwarf Lilac is ideal for smaller sites, under windows, in a mixed border, even as a low hedge. It maintains a round form without pruning, it flowers mauve, and has delicate, wavy leaves.

Next come the crisp white blossoms of Deutzia, Mock-orange, and Bridalwreath Spirea. Weigela produces colourful, trumpet-shaped flowers in June in shades of pink, red, or white. For heavily shaded areas, consider False Spirea with its creamy-white plumes and refined foliage or Kerria with its round yellow blooms.

Good luck with your new landscape!

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