Winter Color in the Garden

Make sure you have color in your garden every month of the year. Whether this comes from vivid foliage, bright berries,  interesting bark or flowers it pays to add to your color palette every month of the year. That’s why it’s so valuable to see what’s available in February as well as summer, spring and fall.

I’m a push over when it comes to striking foliage plants. I find them every bit as vibrant as flowers.  Bright flowers may be the frosting on the landscape but brilliant foliage is the cake. Here are some of my favorites that will add color to your garden this month.

Leucadendron Jester, a sport of Safari Shine is a drought tolerant shrub that’s especially showy this time of year when the flowering bracts turn deep red. Growth is slow and compact to maybe 3-4 feet. It looks like a striped carnival has hit town with its broadly edged creamy white to buff yellow leaves that take on coral pink tints in cold weather, especially towards the tips. It’s hardy to 20 degrees.

Correa Wyn’s Wonder is another favorite in the winter. Bright reddish pink fuchsia-like flowers dangle from this  2-3 foot tall variegated evergreen shrub. Hummingbirds love these flowers from fall through winter. Easy to grow in full sun or part shade it’s hardy to 20-25 degrees.

What’s not to love about a plant with both intensive fragrance and variegated foliage? I’m talking about daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata‘ which is in bloom right now.  A colorful sport discovered in England called Rebecca  has the same sweetly scented pink flowers but the leaves are more vividly variegated than the original. The stripes are wider and more buttery yellow and the flowers are a softer shell pink. These gorgeous little shrubs get a bad name for being finicky to grow.  Less is more when it comes to their care. They thrive in partial shade in humus-rich soil with good drainage. Don’t keep them soggy during the summer or they succumb to crown and root rot. They don’t transplant well but are quite deer resistant. Daphne are not long lived, usually lasting for 8-10 years but what a life they live.

I also am partial to Nandina especially in winter when their foliage turns as bright red as their berries. Sienna Sunrise is useful when you need a 3-4 foot narrow plant, maybe near the front door while the variety fills a space 3 x 3 feet with the same vibrant red foliage in the cool months.

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