Even in winter the garden can hold some interesting surprises, here are just a few plants that break with tradition and offer us a splendid display when all else is the garden is asleep.
Few trees can surpass this maple in its simple architectural beauty and being one of my favorites it always finds a place in my garden. In winter it's peeling cinnamon coloured bark is visually stunning and draws the eye.
In spring through summer it's small trifoliate leaves of dark bluish green make the perfect backdrop with fall bringing a rugged display of deep reds and brown. A compact and fairly slow growing tree it lends itself well to our smaller urban gardens. Acer griseum prefers full sun to light shade on well-drained soil. Height: 6-9m Spread: 3-6m Zone: 4
A broadleaf evergreen for our milder West coast climate, camellias come in a nice range of shapes, sizes and flower colour. The more common Camellia japonica are large shrubs or small trees with a dense canopy of lustrous dark green leaves which make an excellent foil for plants with lighter or variegated foliage.
Flowering can start from December and continue into March, the large flowers can be single, semi-double or double and range from white to yellow (rare) and shades of pink and red. You can even find those that have multicoloured or fragrant flowers which further adds to their appeal.
Other species available include; Camellia sasanqua the Christmas Camellia which blooms in late fall or early winter with smaller single flowers and Camellia sinensis the famous Tea Plant (tea is made from this plant!) with small single flowers late summer into fall.
Camellia's like to grow in partial shade but will tolerate full sun and as usual should be grown in soil with proper drainage. Most types can be easily trimmed to keep them in check. Height: 1-5m Spread: 1-4m Zone: 7
CORNELIAN CHERRY, DOGWOOD
A highly adaptable and relatively trouble free plant it should be used far more in our urban landscapes. It can be kept as a large foundation or border shrub but is probably best suited as a small tree. Late winter into early spring marks the arrival of its bright yellow flowers which appear in small clusters along the stems, an additional display of edible bright cherry-red fruit in summer is a bonus. The bark on older stems exfoliates in flaky patches and can be rather attractive, leaves are glossy dark green; reddish-purple in fall. Cornus mas likes full sun or light shade and is best grown on well-drained soil. Height: 6-8m Spread: 4-6m Zone: 4
CORKSCREW HAZEL / HARRY LAUDERS WALKING STICK
Corylus avellana 'Contorta'
A shrub that shines in winter after shedding its cloak of crumpled dark green leaves in a display of yellow fall colour. Its bare stems have long been used in floriculture and ikebana with their curling and twisted habit they create an intertwining maze which captives the eye and lends a unique structural presence to the garden. For those who crave added interest there is a reddish-purple leaf form available called 'Red Majestic'. Hazel grow their best in full sun. Pictured below are the long yellow male catkins which appear at the beginning of the spring season. Height: 4m Spread: 3-4m Zone: 4
Hamamelis x intermedia var.
A staple for any winter scene the witch-hazel opens a window to the coming spring with a whiff of fragrance thrown in. Often grown as a large shrub, but can be found as a standard tree it has a wide spreading rounded crown with medium to dark green leaves and stunning fall colours of yellow to orange and red. However late winter is when we really notice the witch-hazel and often without even seeing it first.
Along its branches small clusters of flowers unfurl their wispy twisted petals which are accompanied by a sweet scent that carries through the garden; colour ranges from yellow to red. A spectacular plant that should make its way into more gardens. Height: 4-7m Spread: 3-6m Zone: 5
All of these trees and many more are available at Art's Nursery. Please visit or call us at 604.882.1201 for more information.