Winter Gardens with Form, Movement and Bark

Designing a Winter garden can be very fun, as it helps build four-season interest and introduces us to many different plants. While herbaceous perennials die back and disappear for the winter, our gardens can often look bare. It is smart to use a mix of evergreens and conifers to ensure you have ‘life’ and colour during the winter months. Plants with berries, winter flowering shrubs, trees, and bulbs are great additions.

When the garden is exposed during these months it takes on an architectural role. Therefore, although we are always drawn towards flowers, particular interest should be paid to form, movement and bark. Certain trees and shrubs have a gorgeous form, many Japanese maples fall into this category and look wonderful under lit or with an icing of snow! Movement adds a different dimension to the garden, letting it come alive, dancing with the winds of winter. Many ornamental grasses achieve this, some with attractive flower heads that remain for the winter, and glisten when touched by frost or morning dew. Attractive bark is yet another interest that should be considered. Bark can take on different colours and it can also peel or flake giving an eye-catching dimension. Here are some plants to help liven your winter garden:

salix image Salix matsudana 'Tortousa'
Corkscrew Willow
- large shade tree
- yellow green branches twigs
- crazy twisting corksrew branches
sangu kaku image Acer palmatum 'Sangu Kaku'
Coral Bark Japanese Maple
- small specimen tree
- green leaves
- red-orange fall colour
- striking coral red bark in winter
harry lauders image Corylus avellana Contorta
Harry Lauders Walking Stick
- small specimen tree
- contorted twisting branches
- hanging yellow catkins in early spring
- green, rippled leaves
witchhazel image Hamamelis x intermeda
Witchhazel
- delicate, fragrant, papery blooms in winter
- yellow, red or coppery-orange flowers
- small, vase shaped tree
- attractive fall foliage colours
spruce image Picea omorika 'Bruns'
Bruns Serbian Spruce
- blue-green needled conifer
- very narrow growing, idea for small yards
- evergreen
paper bark maple image Acer griseum
Paperbark Maple
- green leaved maple tree
- striking cinnamon brown, peeling bark
- spectacular red fall colour
- small treee, ideal for small yards
cornus image Cornus
Shrub Dogwoods
- deciduous green leaved shrubs
- stems are red, orange or red in winter
- hardy, tough plants
white birch image Betula jacquemontii
White Himalayan Birch
- attractive white bark
- small green leaves
- tough, larger shade tree
arbutus image Arbutus menziesii
Arbutus Tree
- green leaved evergreen tree
- Amazing peeling bark
- white bell-shaped flowers
grass image Helictotrichon sempervirens
Blue Oat Grass
- evergreen grass
- blue foliage
- upright, erect
bamboo image Phyllostachys aurea/nigra
Gold Stem / Black Stem Bamboo
- large evergreen bamboos
- runner, needs containment
- great hedge, screen or container plant
sedge image Carex buchananii
Sedge
- evergreen grass
- brown, coppery foliage
- excellent in winter containers
camellia image Camellia japonica/sasanqua
Camellias
- evergreen shrubs
- beautiful flowers in various colours
- blooms in winter, early spring
- ideal for the entranceway
skimmia image Skimmia japonica
Japanese Skimmia
- evergreen shrub
- colourful white, pink or red buds
- flowers bloom in winters
- tolerates sun or part shade
weeping spruce image Picea abies 'Pendula'
Weeping Norway Spruce
- evergreen conifer
- beautiful dark green needles
- Striking weeping form
- Attractive cones
pampas grass image Cortaderia selloana
Pampas Grass
- evergreen grass
- Striking white plumes
- Sharp edges make a great barrier
snowberry image Symphoricarpos alba
Snowberry
- deciduous shrub
- green leaves
- striking white berries in winter
pyracantha image Pyracantha
Firethorn
- evergreen shrub
- long spiky thorns
- attractive red or orange berries
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