Winter Plants Brighten Up The Garden
W hen the garden turns to piles of leaves, twigs and yellow mush, most of us think that our gardening days are over — at least until spring.
But during the winter season, several plants offer brilliant color to our gardens.
Lenten rose, known as Helleborus, offers lovely long-lasting flowers in a full range of colors from yellow to white to pink and mint green. If you plant this rose in a bed, be sure to leave about 12 inches between these woodland flowers. Some grow up to be quite tall. Lenten rose should be planted in partial shade and watered weekly. The blooms will continue till early spring. You can also place this shrub in a container pot. It is a low maintenance plant that is simple to grow.
Asters are a favorite plant which flowers late, yielding tiny white, yellow or purple flowers on long stems, multiplying quickly in shade or sun. You can protect your asters with fresh mulch for winter protection. The aster is noted for the seed it produces, which serves as food for tree sparrows, goldfinch and chipmunks. If you live near or in the woods, ruffed grouse and wild turkey will also nibble on the seeds.
Spirea is one of the easiest shrubs to care for. It requires little, if any, seasonal pruning. The plant produces yellow-bronze foliage and can thrive down to minus 40 degrees. Spirea loves full sun or part shade, and can grow well as a container plant.
Pansies are typically bred for cold climates, with their compact bushy “faces” that resemble perky bonnets. Pansies are great container plants and can be planted in the ground also, where they will survive wintry weather and live into spring and early summer until it gets extremely hot.
Swiss chard is the governor of the winter garden, growing up to eight inches tall in full sun with leaves that offer splashes of yellow, green or sparkling red. Chard’s popularity serves in ornamental borders and display beds of culinary elements. It is resistant to frost.
Another favorite of mine is Winter Daphne, which offers unique aroma with its crowded clusters of purple, white and lemon-scented flowers that bloom in January and February. Daphne does not like to move from one location to another, so plan a home for it that will become permanent.
Winter Jasmine begins to flower in January and continues to bloom through March. The plant grows in full sun and gives the gardener something to brag about when all other plants are taking a nap. This plant grows two feet high with stems that cascade over walls and fences. It is tough and easily propagated. Rooted cuttings can be taken and planted in 4-inch pots during the fall season. Winter Jasmine is insect- and disease-free, which makes it a must-have plant. It is a good idea to cut back this plant every three years after the blooms complete their growth.
Withstanding severe weather, salvia, known as sage or blue anise (a member of the mint family), is also recommended to be used during the winter season. There are close to 900 varieties of this plant, which will grow happily in containers as well as in the ground. Salvia can survive a temperature as low as 10 degrees.
Quince reveals its showy orange and white flowers during January and February. Not all plants have to present showy colors. Any green and two-tone colorful plants, such as coral bells, bugleweed and beautyberry, exhibit wintry splashes in the landscape.
So bundle up and keep those flowers and shrubs adding robust color to the winter garden.
Contact Anita Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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