UpHome Main Article Index More Plant Articles
Mrs. GreenThumb's Article Archive
Spice Up your Boring Winter Landscape
by Daryl Pulis

The complaint I hear most often in the winter is, "Everything is so dull and boring. Brown Bermudagrass, Brown trees, Brown Mulch, Blecchh!" It doesn't have to be that way. My own landscape has something in bloom 12 months of the year, and yours can, too. All it takes is a little planning.

First to bloom in my garden is our Native Witchhazel. In fact, it's so eager to get going that it often starts blooming in October, and continues to bloom until late March. Its wonderfully fragrant blooms pop open during every warm spell, and remain open for days. Backlit by the winter sun, the flowers seem to glow.

Right on its heels comes the Fragrant Tea Olive. Its tiny white blooms aren't much for show, but the sweet, lemon scent wafts from among beautiful dark green leaves all winter. It's a great plant for screening, being tough as nails, shade and drought tolerant, too.

Beginning in January, and continuing all winter, the Fragrant Winter Honeysuckle is the star of my front garden. Every branch is covered in pink buds that open to show delicate white flowers with bright yellow stamens. There's nothing subtle about this semi-evergreen shrub. Its fragrance is somewhere between lemons and gardenias, and it carries for blocks on a warm winter day.

Carolina Jessamine, an exuberant evergreen vine, produces showers of bright yellow trumpets from January until late spring. In my garden it clambers over a fence and up into the old cherry tree, where it shelters the birds from cold winter winds. Note that this vine is not for families with children, since the flowers are toxic, but look very much like other "honeysuckles" that they play with.

Trees and shrubs aren't all that bloom in my winter garden. By February, the 'February Gold' Narcissus is up and blooming, accompanied by Crocus 'Golden Bunch'. 'Golden Bunch' is an heirloom variety, first known in 1879. It's a shame this one isn't in more gardens, since its cluster of bright flowers really brightens up a gray winters day.

"Tommies", or Crocus tommasinianus, are another old variety that you should try. The bloom has an ethereal quality that glows in the winter sunlight. When the light is dim, the bud is a dainty silver spear set off by the delicate silver stripe on each leaf.

No winter garden would be complete without Hellebores, known as Christmas or Lenten Roses. Admittedly early this year, mine have been in bloom for more than a month already, and will still be in bloom in Mid-May. The large, nodding flowers of Hellebores come in many shades from pink and rose to chartreuse, and white. Newer cultivars are being developed that are outstanding, coming in colors from yellow to black, and even double forms.

If you've never been to Hellebore Day at Piccadilly Farm in Bishop, you're missing a real treat. Walk down to the bottom of the hill and look up into the faces of thousands of Hellebores blooming above you. It's incredible! Hellebore Days this year are March 1st and 2nd from 10-4. Piccadilly is at 1761 Whippoorwill Road, and their phone number is 706-769-6516.

These are just a few ways to spice up the winter landscape. If you'd like an additional plant list of winter bloomers, need botanical names or source information, email me at MrsGreenThumb@mindspring.com or write to PO Box 2413, Cumming, 30028.

UpHome Main Article Index More Plant Articles

Copyright© 1992-2002 Daryl Pulis. All rights reserved. No portions of this Web site or its contents may be copied without the express written consent of the owner.
Website design & development by SpotOn Marketing.