Winter, though no fault of gardeners, has the potential to bring a garden down to the bare minimum until spring comes. However, if you would like to maintain an interesting landscape throughout the year, it’s crucial to remember the key elements: focal points, color, fragrance, chores, and safety.
Focal points can produce subtle or dramatic interest in your garden all year round. Features can include ponds, arbors, sculptures, boulders, or containers to serve as focal points. They can be the center of attention while contrasting with the elements surrounding them.
Structure and Color
For an accent of color, consider evergreens, from perennials, to shrubs, and to trees—there are even some with needles of different colors like gold or violet. Evergreens can help provide color to the landscape and contrast beautifully with bare deciduous trees. This accent provides a colorful complement to various shades of brown while adding a little structure.
Ornamental fruits and berries can also help to add a little color to your garden. Winter-berries or holly is a great accent for winter. Meanwhile, fire-thorn berries can add a splash of red-orange while beauty-berry can add pops of violet to your landscape until spring.
You don’t have to wait for spring to experience fragrant plants. Planting witch hazel or a sweet box can add a sweet fragrance no matter how cold it is. A sweet box plant can provide a vanilla fragrance to the air and produce black berries for additional color and accent.
Doing a few chores like pruning or cutting back old foliage can help a winter garden. Cutting back foliage can help prevent the spread of mold or diseases. Prune out tree or shrub branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other, but try not to cut any new growth in the process. These chores are a lot easier to do in winter because of the small amount of foliage.
Depending on where they are located, you may want to dig up any winter blooming bulbs or any weeds you come across. If you haven’t already, move any winter bulbs to a cool, dark location. Make sure the bulbs are safe to leave until spring, then separate and replant any other bulbs that need maintenance. If you see any weeds, just pull them up or till them until you are ready to remove them.
During the time of ice, safety is always something to have in the back of your mind. To reduce any slippery surfaces, use organic kitty litter instead of salt. Non-chemical kitty litter provides traction without harming any nearby plants. Look for kitty litter that may contain pumice and vermiculite to help with traction.
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