By Elizabeth Elliott
Owner, Himmel’s Landscape and Garden Center LLC
The winter landscape provides beautiful color in warm and cool tones, fascinating texture, and architectural interest. You can enhance the aesthetics of your winter garden with a clean-up. Prune away dead or unsightly branches; rake any remaining fall leaves; and install a light mulch cover to retain moisture, prevent weeds, and insulate soil around tender perennials and evergreens. Save those clippings for a winter arrangement! Use pine boughs, holly branches laden with berries, interesting bare branches and other clippings in summer’s leftover hanging baskets or artfully arrange them in a festive vase.
Enhance with lights. The bare branches of deciduous shrubs and trees will glow beautifully with the addition of fairy lights, seasonal-themed string lights or other decorative lighting. Swathes of golden and bronze-toned ornamental grasses, with their beautiful plumes and seed heads that provide winter food and cover for songbirds, look outstanding lit from below. Try solar LED landscape lights, or low-voltage selections like well or bullet landscape lights. Evergreen foundation or statement plants will look beautiful enhanced by net or string lighting. Solar lanterns are very popular and come in a wide variety to suit your unique taste and space.
Planters make a wonderful statement year-round but can really enhance the winter landscape. You can find interesting planters at antique and consignment shops, online, or at your local garden center. Make sure containers have good drainage so plants don’t drown in soggy soil. Go bold! On your patio, arrange a series of planters filled with evergreen shrubs, tiny arborvitaes, small trees, and perennials. Shrub and tree selections include camellia, Gold Cone juniper, Fairy Lights arborvitae, Sky Pencil holly, Gulfstream nandina, and Don Egolf redbud. Ornamental grasses and perennials like heuchera and verbena work well too. A pair of festively lit holly or dwarf Alberta spruce planters at your door will welcome guests with the holiday spirit.
Add some unique outdoor décor! Garden décor trends include whimsical figurines in all shapes and sizes, decorative stones and cairns, and bold statuary. Water features, fountains and benches are other great choices. And don’t forget the birds! By using a selection of native trees, shrubs and perennials, you can transform your yard into a bird habitat and enjoy sightings year-round! Keep birds coming all winter long by providing fresh water and seed or suet.
Finally, use the gift of winter’s peace, quiet and dormancy to plan for the garden of your dreams! Peruse seed catalogs and read up on the newest perennial and shrub selections coming to your local garden center in 2019. See you soon!