Winter’s Special Beauty
Winter has its own special beauty. A well designed garden is lovely in every season. Here in the Mid-Atlantic region we are fortunate to have a wealth of evergreens in all shapes, sizes and shades of green. Along with an abundance of bright winter berries, a skillful designer can paint a picture to chase away the winter blues.
Speaking of blue, the Blue Atlas Cedar with its architectural form and blue foliage, laden with snow is one of my favorite winter scenes. Along with towering pines, firs and spruce there are lacy chamycyparis, columnar arborvitae…the list is very long and includes a wonderful array of hardy needled evergreens. As landscape designers we rely on them for the backbone of a garden, privacy screens and windbreaks. in the cold winter months they become very special as they contrast with the stark landscape surrounding them.
The broadleaved evergreens add variety, many with berries to further brighten the winter scene. The Southern Magnolia is perhaps the queen of broadleaved evergreens. Hardy cultivars of this southern beauty survive our frigid winters unscathed. The oversized leaves grace many Christmas decorations. Hollies, boxwoods and acuba are a little more demanding of wind protection, but they contribute a wide variety of shapes, sizes and textures to the winter garden.
There are even a few plants that flower during the winter months. The Hamamelis family has several cultuvars that bloom with bright, fragrant flowers in the depth of winter. I haven’t even mentioned the spectrum of winter berries in red, blue, white, coral pink, burgundy and yellow. With the added benefit of contributing to holiday decorations, they deserve a place in every landscape. If your garden suffers from winter boredom, discuss the addition of these interesting plants with your landscape architect.