Friday, January 17, 2014

Bridging the Winter Gap

Christina Hoyt
        Winter has finally arrived in full force, sending most of us inside.  This is a good time of year to sit by the window and survey the landscape, especially with planting season just around the corner.  Does your landscape look drab?  Winter landscapes are challenging because of the absence of green foliage and the bright hues of the growing season.  During these months texture and form take on a vital role in enjoying the landscape.  There are a variety of trees, shrubs and perennials that can add texture and form in the winter.
        Trees get to showcase their bark and fruit during the winter months.  A few interesting ones to think about include Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum, photo opposite) with its cinnamon colored exfoliating bark, Yellowwood (Cladrastis lutea) has beautiful, smooth gray branches and glistening trunk; the multicolored bark of Lacebark Pine (Pinus bungeana) and Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) with its bright orange berries that hold far into the winter season. 
        Shrubs can also give winter interest.  Red twig and Yellow twig dogwoods (Cornus sericea) give medium texture and bold color.  Hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) can add textural interest when the flower bracts are left on for the winter.  Sumac (Rhus typhina) looks architectural during the winter months, turning into a living sculpture. Witchhazel (Hamamelis x intermedia), which often blooms in late winter, gives a nice surprise to the passerby.  Finally, the Holly (Ilex x meserveae) with its glossy green foliage and red berries seems to defy even the worst of winter weather.   

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