The garden in winter is generally at its most sparse with bare branches against a gloomy sky. As I have posted recently shrubs and trees with colored stems and interesting bark can do something to liven up the scene, but flowers in bloom are what you really need to attract the eye. I found this slideshow of nine winter garden plants which has been compiled by John Riha over at the Houselogic website.

Tired of staring at leafless trees and patches of snow in your yard each winter? We?ve chosen nine great winter garden plants that add greenery and cool shapes, and will even blossom outside your window in the heart of winter. Hardy across many zones, these plants make terrific additions to your garden plans.

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles)
If you?ve got a black thumb, flowering quince is a good choice. Virtually indestructible, flowering quince tolerates climate extremes and neglect. This deciduous thorny shrub can stretch up to 8 feet wide, makes great natural fencing, and puts on a big show of blossoms in winter. Plant in spring or fall.
Snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii)
When most other plants are hiding away from winter?s chill, snowdrop is eager to get going. One of the first blossoms of late winter, snowdrops are still shy, preferring to hide away in rock gardens and under taller shrubs. Plant these bulbs in fall.
Boxwood (Buxus)
Your winter garden will come alive with shapes and forms that add texture. Evergreen boxwood hedges are easy to grow and shape, and make terrific borders for paths and garden outlines. Along with a quintet of arches and some tall conifers, boxwoods have turned this snowed-in landscaping into a fairy tale.
Read more: Houselogic
Image source: Hans