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Gardening for Winter
This article was published originally on 4/5/1996While winter is the farthest thing from most gardener's minds (though Mother Nature keeps firmly reminding us of its persistence this year), an attractive landscape requires careful planning for seasonal interest throughout the year. Since the Iowa landscape is dormant 4 to 6 months of the year, extending the attractiveness of the landscape and garden into the fall and winter can help make our winters a little more bearable. Winter gardening doesn't use the flowers and fragrances of summer gardening. Instead a variety of plants are used to add shape, color and texture to create eye-catching displays.
Evergreen trees and shrubs with various shades of greens and blues and interesting shapes are staples of many winter landscapes. Deciduous trees with interesting bark characteristics like paperbark maple or unusual branching habits like pagoda dogwood can also aid in providing winter charm.
Many herbaceous perennials also have interesting fall and winter appeal. Some have foliage like bergenia which turns maroon with the onset of cold temperatures. The foliage of grape-hyacinth emerges late in the season and persists through winter. Perennials like Achillea overwinter with a rosette of foliage close to the ground. Lavender, sage, thyme and other herbs hold their foliage late in the season. Yucca plants possess a unique character especially after a snowfall. Some ornamental grasses are grown specifically for their attractive seedheads in the winter.
The following list contains additional perennial suggestions for winter gardens.
Most people desire a colorful landscape throughout the year. Thoughtful planning and careful consideration of various trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants can provide year round garden interest.
Year of Publication:
IC-475(7) -- April 5, 1996