Is There Color After Frost? (Page 2)

Is There Color After Frost? (Page 2)

Is there Color after Frost? (Part 2)
by Carol Wallace


Cornus stolonifera 'Flaviramea'

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire'

The wonderful dogwood family also has members with branches of bright yellow, Cornus stolonifera 'Flaviramea' - and a sensational mix of coral, orange and yellow - Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire'. A mix of these with the red twigged variety creates an illusion almost like flames on winter snow. It's as close to gaudy as winter gets. Gold and yellows are especially valuable in a winter garden, because, if you squint, they can provide an illusion of sunlight. I planted a golden Chaemacyparis filifera 'Aurea' - a golden threadleaf false cypress - in full view of my kitchen window for its cheering winter effect. While that provides a huge mass of golden color, there are variegated plants such as Daphne burkwoodii 'Carole Mackie' or Eonymous fortunei 'Moon Glow' that sport green foliage dappled with gold - and that really resembles splashes of sunlight playing on leaves.
Eonymous fortunei 'Moon Glow'

Winter Flowering Heath
And then there is orange! Some hollies have orange berries rather than red, as does Pyracantha (firethorn). But if you prefer your color non-prickly, then take a look at some of the winter flowering heaths. Some actually do flower (usually under the snow so that I can't see them) in shades ranging from white to pale pink to reds and mauves. But even better are those that color up in winter, going from bronze-y green to bright golds with orange tips.

It would be easy to get carried away with the golds and yellows. I happen to hate yellow - except in winter when it is a necessity of life. But too much can look like - well, too much. That's when purples and bronzes come in handy, adding some depth to the display. Despite their seemingly somber hues, purples can brighten up a gold-heavy garden.

My best winter-purple plant is Euphorbia amigaloides 'Purpurea', which turns a deep plum color with red highlights. It maintains a neat, mounded shape all winter, for which I am grateful. And it seems to mix well with almost any other winter-color plant. Heucheras, too, hold their color in winter, and the ubiquitous 'Palace Purple' seems to hold up even in snow. 'Palace Purple' tends more to the bronze than the purple in winter, and so mixes exceedingly well with golden plants. And Euonymous fortuneii var. coloratus (purple wintercreeper) turns nearly black purple

Euphorbia amigaloides 'Purpurea'

Ajuga reptans 'Purple Brocade'
On the lighter side of purple I love the purple ajugas. They take on green, purple and bronze tones in winter, keeping the ground warm for the hosts of daffodils that pop through them in spring. The one pictured is Ajuga reptans 'Purple Brocade', but A. reptans 'Burgundy Glow' is even more colorful, turning shades of pink, purple and cream.


Colors Part 2

About the Author

Carol is a garden writer and college professor in northeast Pennsylvania. She manages the Gardening section of Suite, where she also writes the column Virtually Gardening.


About this Author