Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Winter Lingers and Lingers and Lingers

Just trying to make the most of this snowy Feburary in Ohio.  As I said last time, the planning opportunity is just giving me more items on my To-Do List. The Winter Garden can be a magical place. If we take the time, next year we will look out to even more spectacular views.

As you can see in this photo, not only are the shrubs putting on a show, but also the bird feeder and thermometer.  Garden accessories have a year round attraction. Trellis and arbors really hold their own in a backdrop of snow. And evergreens, such as holly, boxwood, and arborvitea, are some of my favorites all year.



I missed a picture of a dozen robins scrounging beneath some crabapple trees.  The fruit was clinging to the trees and the bright red was vivid against the white backdrop.  The robins seemed to be enjoying the meal. When the ground is frozen, food for the birds becomes scarce. So planning to provided for our feathered friends can benefit all of us. Other food sources for birds include viburnum and  hawthorne.

Viburnum is a wonderful shrub that has varying leaf textures, beautiful blossoms in summer, and fruit varieties.  Some fruit is black,(tinus) some red.  The size of each variety varies too.  Viburnum opulus , the European cranberrybush viburnum, grows to 12' or higher. A dwarf variety, Viburnum opulus 'Compactum' is small, only growing to about 6'. This species grows more dense than the Viburnum opulus, but isn't really all that 'dwarf'. A truly small viburnum, maxes out at 2', is the Viburnum opulus 'Nanum'.

Another shrub that holds it berries well through the winter is Aronia, chokeberry. Aronia arbutifolia has red berries, and Aronia melanocarpa has lovely black berries.

Winter may be long, but we don't have to settle for dreary.  A few other plants I'd like to bring to you attention are Sedum, 'Autumn Joy', and all of the various ornamental grasses.  The faded bloom of the sedum shows well with a cap of snow. The burgendy color is anything but dreary.  The ornamental grasses turn golden in late fall and the plumes wave throughout the cold season usaually.  I preface this comment because the very heavy, wet snow - 8" or more - we had last week have buried the grasses into big mounds.  They were pretty while they lasted.  Oh well, there is always next year. 

This brings me back to the 'planning' part of this season.  Look around your yard or garden.  If you don't have lovely scuptures in the snow, plan to pick up a chokeberry or viburnum during the spring planting time.  Add the perennial,s 'Autumn Joy' or one of the many ornamental grasses to your landscape.  The seasons - all of them - are what we gardeners live for.

What is your favorite winter garden element?  Share your ideas of seasonal interest.  Grow and Share!

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