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Entries in winter decor (2)

Wednesday
Jan222014

Winter Interest in the Garden

Snow topped pine and spruce brings out the blue green color of the needlesWinter gardening in the Northeast can be quite interesting. You might be surprised how enjoyable and beautiful this season can be.

Some highlights during winter include:

EVERGREENS: They stand out this time of year without competition from flowering trees and shrubs. My favorites species are all types of  Holly, Evergreen Magnolia, Cypress and Blue Spruce. Hollies are a deep, shiny green and some have red berries which are great for birds. Variegated English Holly is used as a specimen with the white variegation highlighting any garden space. Interesting structural forms pop when combined with blue-green or yellow foliage on different cultivars of Hinoki Cypress. Anything blue toned like the Colorado or Dwarf Montgomery Spruce is a welcome sight in the winter. I also use cuttings from these for winter decoration in my garden pots and urns or even in a vase indoors. 

Skimmia, bright with red berries in the snow covered landscapeFLOWER COLOR: There are several options for winter blooms. 'Arnold Promise' Witch Hazel blooms mid February with fragrant yellow flowers. Lenten Rose (hellebore) is a perennial that blooms in early March and Snow Drops are bulbs that bloom in late February. Heather is evergreen and can start blooming in November right through to early March. The best thing about these plants is that they bloom anywhere from one to three months and are all deer resistant.

Beautiful closeup of the exfoliating bark on a Paperbark MapleBRANCH COLOR: Try the Red Twig Dogwood, a medium sized deciduous shrub. Their summer appearance is not striking but when is snows the red stems will catch any ones attention. There is also a yellow variety. Important Tip: Prune older brown branches down to the base in the spring to encourage new growth. This new growth will start out a light red and intensify as the season progresses. For the late fall/early winter use deciduous Winterberry. It will give a spectacular show of color with red berries, great for the wildlife. Other plants with attractive berries for the wildlife are Viburnum, Sumac and Bayberry which are all native to our region.

DECORATIVE BARK: Once trees lose their leaves for the winter, their interesting structure and bark is more noticeable. Textures range from the exfoliating bark of River Birch, the cinnamon color and exfoliating bark of Crape Myrtle to the the mottled bark of a mature Sycamore, Dogwood or Stewartia to the smooth, gray bark of a Beech tree. Branching habits are visible on the Contorted Filbert, also known as Harry Lauder's Walking Stick, or the Corkscrew Willow with its curly, twisting branches. These are great to cut and bring indoors for floral arrangements or to use as a support for other indoor plants.

 

The winter can be full of garden delights.

Written by Rick Schneider

Monday
Dec022013

Holiday Decor: To Light or Not to Light

LIGHTING: Most of us have some appreciation for the extreme holiday lighting we see at this time of year, but at our own home subtle holiday decor may be more to our liking. Let’s start with a subtle approach for your front door. This is the main attraction which sets the tone for the grand entry. The illumination should be elegant enough to match your indoor decor and lifestyle while adding a holiday spirit for you and your guests as they enter your home. Evergreen roping with lights to frame the door or pots with illuminated evergreen shrubs flanking the entrance add this elegant touch. Now try adding a few ground flood lights with a amber colored bulb to wash the house with a soft, mellow glow. If you prefer more lighting, pick a specimen tree or a few shrubs in a prominent location and wrap the branches heavily with lights. This will give your home and landscape a festive feel.

DECORATIONS: If you like, skip most of the lights and add live plant material. Use evergreen roping, pine cones and bows to add both color and texture. Hang a wreath on your shed, gate, front door or barn with a spot light. The wreath can be bittersweet wine, grape vine or even winterberry twigs for a unique look. Set electric candles in the front and side windows to create a feeling of warmth and home. This will give the home depth when seen from the road. You can also use plant material from your yard and add them into your garden pots or make your own spray to hang on a door, gate or mail box. Use Holly, Inkberry, Rhododendron, Skimmia, Evergreen Magnolia, Cypress or Birch branches or other plants with decorative berries. With the cold weather they should look fresh for weeks.

SPECIAL EVENTS: Let’s say its New Year's Eve or another celebration. Add more glimmer to your existing holiday decor with white or silver bows and twigs. Change the amber bulb to white or blue for new crisp look for your party.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. For more ideas, contact our design specialists here at Goldberg & Rodler.

Written by Rick Schneider