There are five essential elements to create interest in the winter garden. These are foliage, bark, berries, shape and movement. The evergreen trees and shrubs provide color with their foliage which can be highlighted by the red berries of holly and winterberry. Bark can be both colorful and textural. Movement is provided by ornamental grasses that wave in the wind while architectural interest comes from the variety of plant shapes. These ten plants are described in an article by Luke Miller which I found on the Birds and Blooms website.
From winterberry and paperbark maple to witch hazel and pink muhly grass, these winter plants are pretty, yet tough. They shine brightest in cold weather, because they add height, texture and structure to your backyard space. Plus, many of these colorful winter plants have wildlife benefits, but witch hazel is a particular backyard bird favorite. Witch hazel?s year-round foliage and flowers offer shelter and protection from predators, while the fall seeds feed songbirds.
1. Blue sprucephoto credit: Nadiia Korol/Shutterstock
Picea pungens, Zones 2 to 7
Blue spruce is a large tree, but small shrublike cultivars max out at 5 to 15 feet high. The blue-gray foliage is particularly alluring in the winter landscape when a dash of color is sorely needed. For a more blue color, select a cultivar known for its intense blue color.
Why we love it: The lovely foliage, but also the range of shapes?mounded to lollipop to pompom
2. Winterberryphoto credit: Proven Winners
Ilex verticillata,?Zones 3 to 9
Grown as a small tree or a shrub, winterberry doesn?t get much attention during the growing season. Come winter, though, this wallflower demands to be seen when it bursts to life with bright red berries.
Why we love it: The impressive collection of fruit lasts for months?if the songbirds don?t gobble it up first. Plant winterberry in groups for big impact.
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