Winter gardens have their own charm and appeal, relying heavily on evergreens that come in an assortment of colors and shapes. Many cold resistant plants are actually at their best in winter, producing bright berries or becoming brightly colored. Choosing plants that live in winter provides you with a garden that you can enjoy in all seasons.
As the name implies, trees and shrubs that are classified as evergreens have foliage year round. Planting evergreens is a natural choice for a winter garden, since they add color and shape. Hollies not only have bright red berries that add color during the drab winter months; they also have shiny dark foliage year round. Look for different varieties, such as Longstalk or Evergreen holly, to see which one you prefer.
Other evergreens to consider are pine trees. Pine varieties like blue spruces or Eastern white pine have bluish and gray tinges, ideal for adding depth and diversity to a winter garden. If you like the way drooping, feathery foliage looks in winter, think about planting false cypress trees or shrubs. False cypress foliage ranges in color from yellow-green to light green.
If you are hoping to add some color to your winter garden, cranberry bushes produce bright red berries in winter. As an added bonus, during the fall the leaves turn a dramatic dark red and purple. Likewise, firethorn bushes have bright orange or red berries and evergreen foliage.
Another shrub that produces berries all winter, more than making up for their lack of foliage during those cold months, are bayberries. These shrubs grow larger than cranberry bushes, and need to be planted as pairs, male and female. The female bayberry produces waxy, grayish blue berries all winter, whereas the male bayberry will keep its foliage during mild winters.
Adding Shapes to a Winter Garden
Some plants and trees that provide lovely flowers in spring as well as abundant summer foliage also create attractive shapes and visual appeal for your winter garden. Ornamental pears are small trees that grow in oval or cone shapes, which looks lovely when covered in snow.
The ground cover Red-Barked Dogwood, or cornus alba, grows from the ground in long stalks. The stalks turn a fiery red in winter, giving your winter garden both shape and color.