With fall here and winter approaching, my beautiful green, now yellow, aspens will soon be bare. Yes, I do have pines and other evergreens that will be some color, but I got to wondering just what kind of others plants I may be able to plant that would give me some winter color. Here are six 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 for everyone- with and without snowy weather. I think I going to try a couple of these in my California garden.
Mock rush (Pennisetum glaucum) Tough, upright ornamental grasses, such as this mock rush (a member of the fountain grass family) poke through winter’s snows and give your garden lots of visual interest. Those tall flower spikes are full of seeds that attract cardinals, juncos, and other over-winter birds. Plant this annual in early spring, and use the seeds to start next year’s crop.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis) Fragrant in summer, witch hazel puts out clusters of spidery red-and-yellow flowers that blaze like little suns in the midst of winter. You’ll want to find the right place in your garden for this sizable shrub — it can grow up to 15 feet tall and nearly as wide. Plant witch hazel in the fall.
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.
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) a deciduous version of holly — loses its leaves in late fall, leaving behind dazzling sprays of lipstick-red berries. Most species of holly are either male or female, so you’ll have to pair them up to get berries. Plant in spring or fall.
Sweet box (Sarcococca hookeriana) Wishing for some hints of summer in the dead of winter? The thick, evergreen leaves of sweet box cheers up your yard in all seasons. As a bonus, the shrub puts out fragrant, tiny white blossoms in late winter. Plant sweet box near your entry door for aromatic comings and goings.