You can create a garden that can be enjoyed throughout the entire year--a garden that contains plants and shrubs that flower during the winter season. The winter season is a time when most plants lay dormant, but by adding shrubs that bloom in late fall and winter, and with the addition of late winter flowering bulbs, you can transform that sleeping winter garden into a uniquely beautiful winter garden.
Winter flowering really depends on your location and the severity of your winter temperatures. Some winter flowering plants when planted in locations that have mild winters blossom in January. However, the same plant when planted in a location that has a severe winter could blossom in October to November.
Always check the hardiness zone when choosing winter flowering shrubs and bulbs. Not all of the winter flowering shrubs and bulbs will be able to survive severe winter temperatures.
Witch hazel has several cultivars that are hardy to zones 3 or 4. Witch hazel is a flowering shrub, which produces blossoms on bare branches. Blossoms appear from late fall to winter.
Japanese pieris is a broadleaf evergreen shrub, which produces winter blossoms in red, white or pink. The blossoms are small strands of buds, and are quite dramatic against the green leaves of the shrub.
Heath is another evergreen that blossoms during late fall into early spring. It can survive in temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Heath has bell shaped flower spikes--colors that are available are magenta, light pink and reddish purple.
Hellebore or Lenten Rose is an evergreen known for its winter blossoms and also its leaves--the leaves have silver veins, and the tops of the leaves are dark green with a red underside. The bell-shaped flowers are formed in drooping clusters, and they appear in the months of November to March. Flower colors available are white, green, red, purple, and near-black.
Winter jasmine is another excellent addition to the winter garden. It is a rambling shrub with yellow blossoms that appear in late fall through winter. You can grow the winter jasmine on a wall or trellis, or you can allow it to spread on the ground.
Glory-of-the-snow is also known as Chionodoxa lucillae. Its starlike flowers appear in late winter.
Iris reticulate is a late winter/early spring bulb, which is also known as Iris reticulate or reticulated iris. Its bright blue blossoms have yellow and white markings, and blossoms appear for approximately three weeks.