Christmas is coming up fast, the ground is frozen, and the landscapes look like their finished for the year. Most plants are shriveled, buried under snow, and forgotten. With the weather changing, plants go dormant and tend to quietly disappear until the spring warmth returns. But not every plant will do this, evergreens keep the party going until their friends wake up, and plants with good winter interest keep the landscape looking good all year round.
Some good examples for shrubs that help the winter landscape include black chokeberry, viburnums, and dogwoods. Each of those shrubs has qualities that help keep the landscape interesting and tie you over until spring returns. Black Chokeberry develops big berries that hang on until the birds eventually take them away, this both helps the wildlife survive the winter and gives some good color interest. Viburnums are semi-evergreen, keeping most of their leaves and fall color almost through the whole winter, eventually dropping them for new ones in the early spring. Dogwoods are grown for their showy red and yellow stems and this really stands out in the winter where color is hard to find.
Some good examples for perennials that help the winter landscape include many ornamental grass varieties, liriope, periwinkle, and penstemon varieties. Grasses are one of the easiest and largest perennials to use for winter interest, some species like switchgrass and bluestem have nice rigid stems that hold their shape with snow load, and seed heads for some wispy visuals. Liriope and periwinkle are both shade loving groundcovers that retain some green color on their leaves all winter long. Liriope also has little berries that hang off their stems for show. Penstemons are native semi-evergreen perennials that come in many shapes and sizes, ‘Dark Towers’ is one of my favorite varieties that has glossy burgundy basal foliage all winter long.
There are many choices for winter interest, but that is normally forgotten when choosing perennials and shrubs for a landscape. Keep in mind every season when shopping for your next landscape additions, we can help you with your choices and install them professionally too!