When we think of gardens, we usually think of only two seasons - spring and summer. All our efforts are put into creating a garden filled with colour and life for the warmer months. But here in the north, we are faced with a garden that is sleeping for at least four months. Let's not forget about our gardens during December, January, February and even March. Adding something to the landscape that draws your eye outside even on the coldest days will bring you pleasure all year round.
Here are six of my favourite ways to add winter interest with trees in your landscape:
Although not thought of as a "winter" tree, this columnar oak sits regally in the park adjacent to our yard. Because it doesn't drop it's leaves until new buds are formed in the spring, it provides a great backdrop in the snow. And the bonus is that the birds love it to hide out on those blustery days.
Nothing says winter like an evergreen holly (ilex). With it's bright red berries and glossy green leaves, it's a great small tree to add to your garden for winter interest.
Look at the architectural shape of a tree for winter inspiration. This Japanese Maple looks stunning with it's arching branches covered in snow.
These silver birch always remind me of the bush around my ex in-laws' property in rural Quebec. Every year, we would cross country ski or walk through the bush - the white bark against the stark landscape always adds interest. Sadly so many of these trees were broken during the December ice storm as they tend to be weak. But they are fast growers. So if you're looking for something to add interest quickly they might be a good option.
Of course, no winter garden would be complete without evergreens. Whether it be a cedar hedge, foundation plantings like a yew or a majestic blue spruce, adding evergreens to your landscape will give you instant winter interest.
The next time you are looking at your barren winter landscape, take note of what is looking good and what could be added to bring some winter interest to your garden.