Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Interest

In planning her garden, Master Gardener Iris Masters included plants that would provide winter interest: birch trees, Japanese andromeda, Oregon grape holly, magnolia and cypress trees, nandina and crape myrtle.

Iris and I took a turn ‘round the yard through the season’s first snow flurries and I snapped some photos. I missed the hawk roosting in the birch (Betula jacquemontii) but captured the contrast of the tree, listed as the whitest one available, against the evergreens.

The Japanese andromeda (Pieris japonica) shown below provides a bright greeting near the front door.

The Oregon grape holly (Mahonia aquifolium) shown above displays its yellow-green holly leaves.
Iris’ landscape plan provided shelter from winter winds for the large magnolia shown above in the front yard which holds its deep green all winter.
The Hinoki cypress tree (Chamaecyparis obtuse ‘Kosteri’) has beautiful form and evergreen foliage.

Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) shown above is not a true bamboo but a member of the barberry family. The berries are beautiful but they are not as popular with birds as holly berries although mockingbirds and others will eventually eat them.
The crape myrtle (Lagerstromea x ‘Zuni’) with beautiful lavender flowers provides striking seed pods that reach toward the sky.
Other yards around Penn National show winter landscape interest using ornamental grasses, unusual evergreen specimens or bark as well as trees placed so their winter-bare branches create eye-catching silhouettes.

Although the red-berried bushes of Barberry (Barberry vulgaris) really add to the landscape of this white house with red shutters, this is an invasive PA plant. Choose Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) as a substitute.

These plants are sheltered from the winter with burlap but holiday imaginations may see silhouettes of shepherds or wise men.

When there’s a break in winter weather, take a turn around your yard and see what you have and when those post holiday plant and seed catalogues start coming perhaps plan to add something in the coming year for next winter.

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