Winter Interest in the Garden

Do not underestimate the beauty of the winter garden. As I stroll through the yard on a cold January day, there is plenty to enjoy.

The many colors of our native Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar). Shades of blue-green, burgundy, rust, deep purple and blue-gray.

The native 'evergreen' perennials have year round interest in the landscape and keep it from looking too dried out.

Top Row: Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern), Pycnanthemum muticum (Mountain Mint), Heuchera americana 'Dale's Strain' (American Alum Root). Bottom Row: Tiarella cordifolia (Foamflower) and Chimaphila maculate (Striped Wintergreen).

Stems, berries and dried flowers add many types of textures to the winter landscape.

Top Row: red stems of Rosa virginiana (Virginia Rose), berries of Rosa virginiana (Virginia Rose), berries of Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry). Second Row: Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' (Switchgrass), Carex pensylvanica (Pensylvania Sedge), Andropogon virginicus (Broomsedge). Third Row: dried flower of Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea), dried flower of Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' (Smooth Hydrangea), foliage of Geum triflorum (Prairie Smoke). Fourth Row: seed heads of Aster oblongifolius 'Raydon's Favorite' (Aromatic Aster), seed head of Solidago species unknown, the small nuts of Comptonia peregrina (Sweet Fern).

Some more noteworthy four season native plants:

Gaultheria procumbens (Wintergreen): In the spring, small white bell-shaped flowers appear on the plants and turn to red berries in the summer. By autumn the berries mature and turn bright red and the foliage takes on purplish hue. In the winter the red berries and green foliage persist through the winter.

Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood): In the spring, flat-topped clusters of nectar rich white flowers attract butterflies and bees. The flowers then mature to dark blue berries dangling from the branches in late summer attracting songbirds. In the fall the leaves turn yellow, orange and red and then the vertical straight stems look great in the garden.

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry): Small greenish-white flowers appear in mid spring attracting native pollinators and dark green leaves contrast with the flowers in summer. Come fall female plants are covered in red berries along with lovely dark burgundy foliage which then drops in the winter to reveal the bright red berries persisting through the winter on lovely vertical branches.

Bundle up and get out there to see what your garden is offering this winter!

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