Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Inland Northwest, High Desert
February, 2001
Regional Report

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Rose hips add color to the winter garden.

Providing Winter Interest

We read in garden magazines about adding "winter interest" to our landscapes, but nobody bothers to tell us what that is. Simply put, it is what's left to look at, silhouetted against the snow and the winter skies, when all the leaves have fallen. Winter interest often refers to colorful berries or branches. Rose hips can make an amateur photographer gasp. The red or dark yellow branches of dogwood standing in a snowy yard are very pretty. Barberry's dark red leaves and bright red berries are splendid in winter.

Adding Winter Interest

Sometimes it's not the unusual that provides interest in the winter landscape. I find the way the snow lies on the flat branches of a cedar enchanting. The frost on pine needles after a hoarfrost makes the trees look like they belong in a fairy land. An unusually shaped rock in one of my berms backs up the now bare shrub nicely this time of year. Even a collection of assorted junipers makes for a more interesting winter landscape. All we have to do is notice, and plan.

Take a Field Trip

Nothing perks me up in the dead of winter more than a trip to a nursery or botanical garden. Even though most of the plants are dormant, there's still a lot to see. The evergreens are usually accessible for a stroll through, and the statuary can lead to ideas for your own garden. In the gift shop check out the ornamental iron stakes that are so popular now. We have one in the shape of a doberman in our garden. The stakes are made of raw iron and are rusty. When they get wet, they dribble iron into our alkaline soil. Take home a cement bunny or bird house or whatever strikes your fancy, and next winter you'll find yourself gazing at a more interesting landscape.

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