Color in the Winter Garden

‘Tis the season… to enjoy your garden from inside on a wintry day when the weather is cold and blustery. Why not dress up your entrance with winter blooming plants to welcome you home or place them where you can see them outside a window? Besides bedding plants like primroses, violas and pansies, there are colorful shrubs that bloom during the winter. Here are some good additions to your garden to brighten things up.

Yellow is always a cheery color in the garden at any time of year. The deep golden flowers of Mexican marigold or tagetes lemmonii  are carried on branch ends sporadically all year, peaking in winter and spring. Finely divided leaves are strongly fragrant when crushed and smell like a blend of marigold, lemon and mint which is why deer avoid them. Prune them lightly to control shape and size. They grows  3-6  ft tall and as wide.  Another shrub that blooms all winter and has yellow daisies is euryops.  They, too, are deer resistant and grow to about 3 ft.    If you have a little more space, try ‘Rose Glow’ leptospermum near a ceanothus ‘Concha’.  The contrast between the deep red flowers of the tea tree with the bright blue flowers of the California lilac will certainly get your attention. These larger shrubs reach about 6 ft tall and as wide.

Camellias are another great shrub that start blooming in the winter.  Actually, Camellia sasanqua start flowering in the fall and some like the popular  red ‘Yuletide’  bloom right at Christmas time.  ‘Chansonette’ is another beautiful  variety with rich pink flowers.  Sasanqua camellias can tolerate a little more sun than the more common camellia japonicas.  They come in a variety or forms from compact shrubs to open vining types that can be espaliered.   If you don’t have any of this variety they would make a good addition to your garden.

has been the standard in U.S. and European gardens since the 1800’s when they were introduced from China and Japan.  Their flowers range from formal types like my favorite, ‘Nucchios’  Pearl’   to anemone form, rose form and peony- like flowers .  Their flowering season can be early (Oct-Nov.), midseason (Jan. – March) or late ( March – May ) which is why it seems that camellias are always blooming.

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