Thursday, January 4, 2018

Texture and Movement in Winter’s Garden

Winter in southeast Wisconsin might be seen as a time of rest for our garden plants.  December days, filled with frost and freeze, cause most plants to die back, or at least change clothes.  The lush, colorful foliage of summer and fall often becomes brown and crunchy as wintry weather prevails.  

One plant in my garden that held its color well into December was Heuchera ‘Southern Comfort’ (shown here nestled in ice crystals.)  This perennial is a solid performer most of the year, and has delightful purple tinted undersides on its foliage.

But most winter-interest plants aren’t about vibrant colors.  Movement and texture provide much of the visual appeal in winter’s garden.  Ornamental grasses make a statement in the winter landscape, so do not cut back during autumn. Tall sedum covered with fresh snow provides texture in the garden, although the dried sedum stems alone are beige and bland.  A fresh coat of sparkly snow makes all the difference!

Evergreens of all kinds are often the stars in winter’s garden.  
Their branches sway in the winter wind, providing attractive movement in the  garden. When planting evergreens, consider a red-toned planting in the foreground.  It might be a crab apple tree with persistent fruits.  

An American cranberry bush is planted in front of my Colorado blue spruce tree, and the spruce offers a textured backdrop for those orange-red berries.   An alternative planting is Cornus sericea, redtwig dogwood, which looks amazing in the winter garden, especially when coupled with  an evergreen. 

Texture and movement pair well in the garden... these elements contribute significantly to the overall garden design.

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture