The years end is fast approaching and the lights and beauty of the holidays will subside to winter calm and stillness. How then to find Winter Interest In The Garden.
There is a lot still going on in my garden from this year. A very late bloomer is my Schizostylis with its flaming red flowers. It is blooming later this year than ever.
Now I can really see all my humming birds. I captured this wonderful shot of an Anna’s Humming Bird in flight. They over winter here.
My grasses provide interest as they sway in the breeze and provide seeds for the birds. Raja loves to hide under one of them. I will cut them back in early spring. The leaves have not yet completely fallen from my Sweet Gum. At least now I can see the bird or squirrel nests.
Several of my shrubs still have beautiful berries. They will finally fall off around January. Here are photos of the berries from my enormous Burning Bush, a Barberry and out two Beauty Berries. They are still putting on a show in the garden.
The Backyard Garden has been fairly well put to bed and you can now has been put to bed and you can now see the pathways, new raised beds and aside beds that we put in. I already have Onions, Garlic and a cover crop of Scarlet Clover planted there
The Roses that we cut back are right next to the Rugosas that will likely wait until February for pruning.
Winter Blooming Plants
To keep winter doldrums away, I decided quite some time ago to plant as many Winter Blooming Plants as I can. That worked well when I lived in a new house where the garden was an open canvas, but this house was already well planted. Still, I have quite a few Winter Bloomers which were either here or which I planted. One other thought about having Flowers That Bloom In Winter is that they may provide a food source for over wintering humming birds.
Some of those are my Hellebores. I have three kinds, one which blooms in autumn, one which blooms in winter and one which blooms in early spring. These are photos of my winter (Helleborus Foetidis, which blooms pale green) and spring bloomer (Hellebores Orientalis, which blooms in all shades of white, pink, purple and yellow). I actually have blooms on both now.
My Snow Drops (Galanthus woronowii – Zone 5-8), which bloom around late February and Muscari, which bloom in March are sending up lots of new growth. My Sarcococa (Sarcacocca) is an extremely fragrant winter blooming shrub with very tiny, almost invisible white fringe flowers which bloom in February or March. There are several varieties sold here. Here you can see the buds on mine. While the Daphne Odora (Daphne odora), which is also very fragrant blooms in early spring around March or April.
Elsewhere in my garden, several shrubs are sending out new growth already. I certainly hope that a cold January and February won’t damage it. My neighbors Contorted Filbert (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) has catkins. They are about an inch or two now, but will elongate to ten or more inches when they are in full flower around February. My double pink Azalea (Rhododendron), has some buds along with beautiful red winter foliage. The Forsythia (Forsythia ovate – Zone 4-7), which haven’t fully lost its leaves yet, already has buds for spring. This blooms with beautiful yellow flowers in February. And my early blooming (April) Tree Peony (Paeonia), has buds that are showing.
Not usually a winter bloomer, my Schizostylis (with the red blooms above) usually blooms in late autumn after everything else has quit blooming.
There are lots of other Winter Bloomers that I don’t have. I found a great list at Daves Garden, which I am borrowing from, along with the Hardiness Zone information. One of my favorites is Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana – Zone 3-8) which blooms with yellow or orange fringe flowers around January or February. I had one in my previous home that bloomed in January and then again around August. It has wonderful red to purple fall foliage too.
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles) lovely around March and blooms a little after Forsythia with blooms of red, pink, apricot and magenta. However it becomes huge and suckers and has nasty thorns. We had one and just took it out because it was taking over. I am sad to see it go, because they are lovely in early spring.
Winter Hazel (Corylopsis) blooms at about the same with beautiful yellow droops.
Various Viburnums bloom in early spring. Double File Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum) blooms in April with double rows of white flowers and has deep red fall foliage. I had one of these in my previous home.
A Pacific Northwest native, Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) is used ornamentally and flowers in late winter (late February or early March) with beautiful white droops. You can often see them in the tree understory in the woods here or in people’s yards. I had a volunteer in my previous home.
Winter Flowering Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima – Zone 4-8), flowers in mid winter and is very fragrant.
Camellias (Cameillia Japonica and Sasanqua – Zone 8-10) flower in reds, whites, pinks, oranges and yellows beginning in late fall and going through mid winter. Some of them become enormous growing into trees, while others prune obediently into an espalier. Much to my regret, I have none.
Pussy Willows (Salix discolor – Zone 4-8, flower around March with pretty, fat catkins.
Also, Flowering Cherry (Prunus spp. – Zone 6-9), which we have a lot of, bloom with white, pale pink and darker pink blooms very early in March and sometimes February. We had one at my work that began flowering in December and sent out blooms until March.
Then come an array of bulbs which bloom in late winter or early spring. Some of those that may even push up through the snow in January or February are Snowdrops (which bloom with white droplets),
Crocuses (Zone 3-8) (which bloom with a rainbow of purple, white, yellow, mauve, pink and blue) and
Winter Aconite (Eranthis cilicica – Zone 3-7, which blooms yellow). These are followed by the rest of the spring bulbs, such as Daffodils and Tulips in spring.
And some of my favorites are the Primroses (Primulas), that are usually offered for sale on New Years Day here, although I found them last year in December at a nursery. They come in every imaginable color. They can be planted in the ground, but I like them in a pot by my front door. I am hoping to find these soon.
I hope that this may give you some ideas regarding Winter Interest In The Garden and Winter Blooming Plants. In general, I start finding some of these Winter Bloomers in the nurseries around February, but that may not be true where you live. Unless the ground is frozen solid, you may still be able to plant some of the bulbs. They may or may not bloom next spring, but should the following year.