Home for the Holidays – Winter Interest in Your Garden

Here in Northeast Ohio, we are used to getting blasted with lake effect snow which is a atmospheric phenomenon that only occurs in a select few areas of world near large inland bodies of water. As we know, it can cause a large amount of snow to fall in a short period of time, which we saw recently at the end of October causing significant damage to many power lines, trees and shrubs. Although the damage can be devastating with a heavy, wet snowfall like we had couple weeks ago, it can also be a beautiful backdrop during the holiday season.

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Preparing Plants for Snow: In most cases, plants don’t need any special attention to protect them from winter temperatures or snowfall (providing they are hardy to our climate zone). However, some may choose to envelope their beloved plants with burlap or mulch to give them some extra protection. Here are some tips for preparing your plants for winter:

  • WRAPPING – Generally, it is not necessary to wrap plants unless you have something that is temperamental to our climate zone. If you are wrapping plants, use burlap or a breathable material. Plastic will not only damage your plants, but can also cause mold and fungus to grow and cause your plants to rot. You can also protect tender perennials or annuals (like snapdragons which can make it through the winter if they don’t get hit with frost) by using leaf humus or pine needles.
  • SALT SPRAY – Many forget that with snow comes the snow plows and salt trucks! Salts can harm plants along roadsides as salt spray can reach up to 20′ from the road. To avoid salt spray damage on evergreens, it is best to put up some sort of snow fencing or burlap to protect them against the salt spray which can brown out foliage. Also, if you live along a main road, it is wise to plant salt tolerant or deciduous plants that generally won’t be as damaged by the salt spray.
  • CUTTING FLOWERS & FRUIT TREES – Who wouldn’t love to have a lovely vase of flowers in their home before winter sets in? Make it a practice to cut of large flower heads of plants in the fall to enjoy them so its not a chore! Leaving flower heads on plants through the winter can cause the branches to be heavy, combined with a heavy snowfall it can cause branches to break and damage to your plants. Fruiting trees and shrubs should also be paid attention to. Trees like apples and pears that bear heavy fruit should be pruned back regularly to keep the branches from becoming too heavy and it also helps to produce better fruit!
  • TYING UP PLANTS – Some plants that have a columnar habit such as Arborvitae and Juniper may be loosely tied to prevent the snow from breaking or bending their branches. Again, although not necessary it won’t harm the plants to take the extra precaution, just make sure you don’t tie them too tightly and remove the ties in the spring.

Plants for Winter Interest: Want to be the talk of your neighborhood with gorgeous red berries frosted with a layer of ice and snow, winter blooming shrubs & perennials, or colorful bunches of branches or peeling bark in your landscape? Well you can! Below is our list of best plants for winter interest.  Although they may fall short during the summer months, these plants will shine their brightest during the late fall, winter and early spring months.

Ilex

Ilex verticillata – Fall, before the leaves drop

    • Ilex verticillata – Winterberry Holly – In the holly family, as the name suggests, this deciduous shrub will be covered in bright red or red/orange berries in the fall and through the winter. Because it loses its leaves, the berries become more apparent in the winter against the bright white snow. Branches can also be cut and mixed with freshly cut evergreens in holiday arrangements. Note – these plants have a male and female, so you will need one boy somewhere on your property or in the vicinity to produce the best fruit. This is one of our favorite winter-interest plants
    • Red or Yellow Twig Dogwood – During the summer they may look like green or variegated bushes, come winter, their branches leap out against the snow and dreary background. with bright yellow or red branches, these plants shine during the winter months. Branches can also be used as an accent in floral arrangements.

      Hamamelis vernalis | Witch Hazel

      Hamamelis vernalis | Witch Hazel

    • Hamamelis – Witch Hazel – Have you ever seen or smelled a Witch Hazel bloom? No? That is probably because it typically blooms between December and March! Plant one in an area where you will see it during the winter to enjoy this diamond in the rough. Witch Hazel’s typically bloom yellow or red.
    • River Birch – River Birch produce a beautiful peeling bark which can be enjoyed after its leaves have fallen. A common landscape plant, they provide interest year round
    • Callicarpa – Beauty Berry – Although most notable in the fall, this bright purple berrying shrub will hold its fruit through winter provided it isn’t knocked off. It looks lovely frosted in ice and no worries if it receives snow damage! This plant requires a hard cut back early in spring to looks its best throughout fall and summer so broken branches in the winter won’t ruin its beauty during the summer months.
    • Helleborus – Lenten Rose – This perennial is semi-evergreen and will hold its foliage into winter… under the snow new foliage and flowers are produced which start to emerge in the early spring months as the snow starts to melt. It is also good for deep shade and dryer soils.
    • Heptacodium – Seven Son Flower – A late fall blooming tree or large shrub, its graceful habit and peeling bark will make a lovely addition to your landscape.
    • Evergreens – Well, we couldn’t leave them out! Pines, Spruces, Arborvitae, Taxus, Holly, Boxwood (Boxwood is Deer Resistant!), Rhododendrons and Juniper just to list a few!

Looking for a Great Gift?

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We have $25.00 gift cards ready to send out! If you would like to order a gift certificate please contact us at (440) 729-1374.

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