Now that our gardens are all cleaned up for the winter and things are tucked away, what is left in your garden for you to enjoy during the winter?
Does it look like a barren wasteland with nothing to catch your attention? Now is a great time of year to stop and analyze your winter garden.
Just because we are now spending more time inside for the winter doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your garden by looking at it through the window.
Do you realize that for at least five months of the year, we are looking out at our gardens from inside our home?
For you gardening addicts, that is too long of a stretch to go without getting a garden high.
I love to go to the window first thing in the morning, even in the winter months, to see what has changed or what is showing off in the garden.
Here are some of my favourite specimen evergreens that will spruce up any winter garden:
Weeping white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’)
If you are looking for an evergreen that provides a unique form and fantastic texture, weeping white pine may be the plant for you. It is one of my favourite evergreens.
Its pendulous branches give it a graceful appearance that looks great as a standout specimen plant in any garden.
It also looks great in a rock garden or near a waterfall. The long, fine needles add to the soft texture of the plant.
The four-inch to six-inch cones in winter add an extra element of interest. Pines prefer a location that receives full sun to light shade and they prefer well-drained soil.
The white pine is hardy to Zone 3, so it is hardy to most gardens in Ontario. A great addition to any garden.
Slender hinoki false cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Gracilis’)
Are you looking for an alternative to the regular pyramid juniper or cedar? Something with a bit more character?
The slender hinoki false cypress will provide this and more. Its dense, deep, rich green colour and cupped foliage make it stand out among the rest.
It retains its colour well throughout all seasons. Its sporadic branching habit adds to its overall charm.
The slender hinoki false cypress will grow to 10 to 12 feet in height and spread about five to six feet wide. It will thrive in a part shade to full sun location and will tolerate most soil types.
I find that it works well in many different styles of gardens: woodland, Japanese or contemporary style.
Threadleaf cedar (Thuja occidentalis ‘Filiformis’)
If you are looking for something quite different to add to your winter garden, you may want to consider threadleaf cedar, or as I like to call it, Cousin It (from “The Addams Family”).
Its long, string-like, curling, thread-like foliage has a unique texture and it is more yellow-green in colour, which helps it to stand out even more in the garden.
It slowly grows by mounding up reaching a height of about eight feet tall and five to six feet wide. It prefers a sunnier spot and requires at least five or six hours of sun per day.
So, take some time this winter to study your garden and see if there is a spot where you could benefit from adding an evergreen or two.
It may be somewhere that is viewed every day – out the kitchen window or patio door. Or, it might be in your front yard as well.
There is no reason why you can’t still be enjoying your garden all winter, even if it is from inside while you are enjoying a nice, cozy fire.
Joanne Young is a Niagara-on-the-Lake garden expert and coach. See her website at joanneyoung.ca