There ought to be Gardens for all Months in the year, in which, severally, things of Beauty may be then in season.”
– Sir Francis Bacon
Sir Francis has a point. We tend to look at our gardens as having three seasons: Spring, with a flush of new growth; Summer for its wealth of flowers; and Fall for its vibrant Autumn glow before the leaves fall. And leaves us with Winter: the wettest, coldest, and barest of seasons. Unless you know what to do about it!
I used to dread winter (remember, I’m a sun gal), with its never ending grey sky and dark mornings and nights. Then, tired of the empty spaces in my gardens, I began to explore and uncover a wealth of winter garden gems, just waiting to light up a gloomy Seattle winter day! We’re lucky, here in the Northwest. Typically, our winters are not too cold, we get lots of natural rain, and plants from all over the globe thrive here. Winter bloomers from Turkey, China and Japan do wonderfully here, and paired with some local plants, definitely make winters a bit shorter for me.
Winter plants I can’t do without, that will be poking their heads above ground or whose flowers or berries will be waking up this month, include:Helleborus (Christmas/Lenten Rose) – I have them in every color Sarcococca (Sweet Box – so fragrant!) Ilex (Holly – not all are spiny!) Hamamelis (Witch hazel) Daphne Symphorocarpus (Snowberry) Galanthus (Snowdrop) Camellia sasanqua (Winter blooming Camellia) Cyclamen Wintergreen (gaultheria procumbens)
And oh so many more! Any of these, paired with an evergreen rhody or azalea, or the vibrant red or yellow branches of a dogwood, Coral Bark Mample, a broad fern – well, that just makes my day on a dreary winter morning. Sun or no Sun.
Just something to think about on a dreary winter day….