Color in the Winter Landscape

With the coming of Groundhog Day in the US, the end of winter is approaching.  January and February can often seem to drag on, with cold and stormy weather keeping us all inside for several months.

While winter is normally the least active season in the landscape, that doesn’t mean it has to be barren.  By carefully planning your plant pallet, there can be interest and variety in the garden year round. At VODA, we design landscapes that have a year-round plant pallet, with something beautiful to be seen even on the grayest winter day. A few plants in particular do well in Western climates:

Dogwood (Cornus) is a fantastic plant for winter interest.  The bark of the dogwood is either bright red or yellow, providing a stark contrast to colorless wintertime landscapes.  This deciduous shrub grows from four to eight feet tall, and requires a minimum of pruning.  Dogwood does well in full sun to full shade, and requires a little more water than average.  Leaves  of the dogwood come in standard or variegated varieties, and are available at any nursery or plant store.

Evergreen plants and shrub are a must for any landscape. During winter months when deciduous trees and shrubs are leafless, evergreens add beauty and form to your landscape.  Mugo pine (Pinus mugo) come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and are hardy in even the coldest and snowiest climates.  When all the flowers and shrubs are dormant in winter months,  a snow dusted mugo pine can add color and structure to an otherwise empty landscape.

Forsythia is one of the earliest blooming plants in our landscape. When other plants are still devoid of signs of life, the forsythia can be in full bloom, and are usually the first signal of impending spring. Adding a couple forsythia to your landscape can make late winter bearable, knowing that spring and summer are on their way.