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Article: Winter Landscaping

Created on: Monday, June 09, 2003

Planting shrubs and trees for winter interest in the garden can brighten many a cold, blustery day. If hardy shrubs or small trees are included in the perennial border you'll have something to look at during the cold months to assure you that there is indeed a garden under all those leaves or snowdrifts. Choose shrubs and trees with pretty evergreen colors and textures, with colorful fall foliage or berries, and attractive branching forms when the plants are bare. Combining the varied greens, silver blues and blue green evergreens can provide a tapestry of color in the winter landscape. The counterpoint of sharp needled spruces, soft needled pines, and the flat leaves of rhododendrons give the winter garden texture that keeps it lively. Spiny hollies and fluffy yews combine harmoniously, and their berries add another dimension to the wintry scene. More winter color is provided by the heaths which bloom all winter long, and by the heathers whose foliage turns lime green, soft yellow, or blazing red in cold weather. Witch hazel, the earliest blooming deciduous shrub, glows orange, yellow, or red during deepest February. Red and yellow twig dogwoods brighten the winter landscape with their colorful stems, which had been an inconspicuous green all summer long. The forms of cotoneasters, looking like fish skeletons frozen in place, or a crabapple tree silhouetted against the winter sky, it's fruit dangling like little bells, rose hips encased in an icy tomb, add visual excitement. If you plant for winter interest, you will extend the enjoyment of your garden so that the next thing you know you will be greeted by the first spring crocuses peeking through the receding snow.

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