If you’re anything like me, you bear a little bit of enmity for the winter season, not only because it frosts your windowpanes and chaps your skin, but because it is cloaked in a seemingly grainy, black-and-white-photo kind of quality all season long. The kids seem to find joy in the snow days that free them from the shackles of math class, but even they grow antsy for warmer weather to throw off their shoes and wade in the creeks winding through the backyards of the subdivision. And, landscapers like us become a little morose due to the fact people are usually far too busy with holiday decorating to pay any mind to their backyard spaces.
Winter does not have to be the red-headed step-child of the four seasons! Believe it or not, we can perform many landscaping tasks all year round, as long as the ground is not frozen solid and there is not a blizzard plaguing our area. For this blog post, I’d like to focus on three garden additions that we love to install for people that want their yards to have a little extra pop to them when Old Man Winter still darkens their doorstep.
1. HAMAMELIS (aka WITCH HAZEL)
People are often stunned when we tell them the Witch Hazel is actually native to our region. It is considered a large shrub or small tree, due to its rounded, open-branched form. It is one of those plants that has people asking, “What is that?!” because it is way underused in the landscape.
While there are many interesting varieties available, Witch Hazels typically top out at about 12-15 feet high with an equal spread. They like sun, but a little afternoon shade makes them happy too. They boast fragrant, ribbon-like flowers when most other plants are sleepy-eyed and dormant. They also turn heads with their amazing fall color. If you have an Asian/Zen or cottage-style garden, definitely look into adding Hamamelis to it this year!
2. HELLEBORUS (aka LENTEN ROSE)
If you have never met Hellebore, you are in for a real treat! Not only do these terrific perennials come in many amazing colors, their palmate foliage is often evergreen! Their nodding, blushing blooms adorn the garden in late winter all the way through early spring.
Hellebores favor a relatively shaded area that is well-drained and rich in organic matter. Mine live quite happily in part sun, as long as I keep the soil a little moistened on the warmer days. They are generally between 1-2′ tall and a little bit wider than tall. If deer frequent your yard, they may skip over your Lenten Roses for something more palatable to them.
3. CAMELLIA SASANQUA
This type of camellia blooms in late fall through to winter. With glossy, evergreen foliage, Camellia sasanqua fits an Asian/Zen or Cottage garden setting quite nicely. Varying in size and shape (usually 6-12 feet tall at maturity), some of these make stunning appearances trained to espalier up a wall too!
Most Camellia sasanquas enjoy filtered sunshine and an acid fertilizer. They are not too difficult or fussy, like some may believe. The flowers are also excellent cut for arrangements!
If any of these beautiful winter bloomers catches your eye and you would like one installed in your yard, please do not hesitate to call us. We know the best growers and suppliers in the area and can usually find what you want, if it is in stock. We also install every plant with the utmost care and knowledge. We always use organic fertilizers with each install. Give us a call for a FREE consult – (804) 690-5516 or contact us online.