Favorite or New Plant
Winter Sun Holly-Grape
Looking for a plant to brighten the garden in winter? Certainly evergreens, both needled and broad-leaved, as well as berried plants like winterberry help out. One of the less-well-known broad-leaved evergreens is the genus Mahonia, or holly-grape. The Northwest native Mahonia aquifolium, or Oregon holly-grape, and Mahonia bealei are both good choices. Now a new hybrid is becoming more widely available, Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun'. This is a statuesque shrub, growing to 6 to 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide, that makes a dramatic focal point with its whorls of large, frond-like leaves and large sprays of fragrant yellow flowers produced in the fall followed by clusters of black berries. 'Winter Sun' grows best in part shade with protection from winter winds. Which brings up one caveat: winter hardiness. They are marginally hardy in our region, but if you have a protected spot near your house, 'Winter Sun' definitely is worth trying as it offers the possibility of brightening the view of your garden in winter.
Real Christmas Trees
In case you hadn't heard, real trees are much "greener" than artificial ones. To learn more about this as well as getting the opportunity to play "Attack of the Mutant Artificial Trees," visit the Web site of the National Christmas Tree Association. Their site also includes other games, puzzles, suggested Christmas books to read, clip art, information about the White House Christmas tree, a history of Christmas trees, information about famous trees, and much more.