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When you think of winter landscaping, you might just think of barren trees and ground covered in snow. But you can create beautiful winter interest in your garden by using certain shrubs and trees.
Even if you live in an area that doesn’t get much snow, you may still only imagine hardened earth just waiting for Spring to soften it up enough for flowers to peek through again.
That doesn’t have to be the case, though! You can have a beautiful, visually-appealing garden – even in the dead of winter! Keep reading for different plants for winter interest in the garden.
The key is to choose colorful plants, shrubs, and trees that are both interesting or colorful AND can withstand the cold weather.
In this article, you will learn about different ways to use plants for winter interest to your garden.
Plants with Winter Interest
Also known as Deciduous Holly, I can’t think of a plant that screams “winter holidays” quite like the winterberry.
Boasting glossy green leaves and bright red berries, it is sure to add some color and beauty to any landscape. Isn’t it gorgeous?
Sky Pencil Holly
As its name suggests, Sky Pencil Holly grows to be quite tall – up to 12 feet, in fact! They make the perfect addition to the entrance of a garden.
The dark green foliage works well for a hedge between the street and your front yard.
Flowers from January to April for some of the earliest blooms in your garden. Paper Bush likely gets its name from the white and yellow flowers it produces on its tips.
What makes it such a great thing to have in your winter garden is the strong, spring-like fragrance it will send wafting through your garden!
This is another pleasantly fragrant plant that blooms throughout winter. It can add dashes of yellow and red throughout your garden.
It also has medicinal qualities and is great for skin care; you can use witch hazel as a skin toner. Use witch hazel to cleanse your skin and soothe burns.
This sweetly-named plant smells as sweet as can be! And with pinkish purple buds that open up into light pink, star-shaped flowers, they are a sight to behold.
Depending on where you live, camellias could be a fantastic and colorful way to add winter interest in your garden.
These evergreen shrubs come in varying shades of pink and red, with thick and glossy leaves.
A camellia is one of those “almost perfect” flowers – it’s a favourite of many gardeners!
Note: Not recommended if you raise grazing animals.
Chokecherry can be great for adding a bit of color to your garden. They also have a variety of uses, including culinary, medicinal, and wine-making.
This bush sprouts white flowers as well berries that are either red, orange, or yellow, depending on the variety. They are also great for attracting birds to your garden since the berries are edible.
This shrub emits a delightful honey fragrance and is known for blossoming its yellow petals in during midwinter.
Plant it somewhere with lots of room! Wintersweet gets big – up to 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide.
This fragrant plant is also great for attracting pollinators into your winter garden since it’s a great source of nectar and pollen.
Great for dry places, like under large trees. Sweetbox sends out creamy white flowers that smell wonderful.
This flowering plant has yellow blooms that pop into existence in late winter, helping to usher in spring.
The lemon-colored delights are fantastically cheerful when planted in groups.
So start thinking and researching different plants for winter interest in the garden. There are many different shrubs that look good in winter. And remember, planting a bush that has red berries will add a pop of colour to your garden when it can really use it!
Decorative Ways to Add Winter Interest in Your Garden
Plants aren’t the only way to add winter interest to your garden. You can also make use of lawn and garden ornaments plus plant containers to add bursts of life and color to your garden.
Here are a few fun items you can add to your garden to make it visually appealing all year long.
Bird baths are the perfect addition to any yard or garden. Not only can they make it super easy for you to bird watch, attracting the birds to your garden can also promote pollination.
If you’re into bird watching, you should also consider adding a birdhouse or two to your garden. Or, fill a squirrel proof bird feeder with seed and enjoy watching the birds from your window.
When used properly, garden containers can be the perfect addition. They can help you grow beautiful plants (not to mention tasty ones) as well as add a bit of vibrancy to your garden.
Colorful large garden pots can be very striking in the winter season. Fill with cedar boughs and large bright red ribbons for Christmas time.
Don’t forget that there are a wide array of garden ornaments that can be used year-round, including statues, sculptures, wind chimes, hanging baskets, trellises, decorative stakes, stepping stones, signs, and more!
Wind chimes sound so pretty, especially when you have several of them hanging in different areas of the garden.
There are so many different ways to create winter interest to your garden. So start making your plans – include a variety of shrubs and trees.
Take your time with your landscape plant design – you may even want to hire someone experienced in garden design. Pick up a great book like this one on landscape design or some landscape design software.
Take your time and play around with different plans to see what works best for your yard.
Plan for the shrubs mature size and just add flower bulbs or low perennials to fill in the spaces between your shrubs. Over time, reduce the bulbs and let the shrubs fill in.
Then, add a few striking visual components like large pottery, garden signs and pergolas. Add seasonal decor to garden containers, using colours that will pop!
I hope that this helps you create a garden landscape that brings you joy throughout the winter months and beyond.
More about Gardening:
Some of the earliest Spring blooms come from flower bulbs planted in the Fall. Here’s our top Bulbs for pretty Spring blooms.
Do you have a small garden? Here’s some great ways to Gain Space in a Small Garden.
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