By Jodi Torpey
Winter is the least-appreciated season in the landscape, and that’s a shame. Even when trees are leafless and the soil is frozen solid, the garden should still invite us to spend some time outside.
If you’re the kind of gardener who hangs up the gardening gloves at the end of the season to hunker down inside, I hope you reconsider. Instead of ignoring the landscape in winter, plan for ways to enjoy it.
Many tough trees, shrubs, and perennials brighten the Mountain region landscape at the time of year we need it most. Evergreen junipers, whether growing upright or spreading along the ground, are at their most beautiful when dusted with snow.
Drought-hardy lavender offers the landscape almost four seasons of beauty. The shrublike plant is lovely in spring, when it comes to life. In summer, when the tall spikes of purple flowers are in full bloom, it provides a satisfying snack for hungry bees.
Leaving the stalks standing through autumn rewards you too. When the first snowflakes start to fall, lavender plants take on a completely different persona. The spiky appearance beneath a blanket of fresh snow resembles a porcupine taking a nap.
Spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, are winter’s perfect planting because their beauty extends beyond the bright flowers. Each bulb contains everything it needs to sleep through winter and emerge brilliantly in spring.
As soon as the green foliage begins to show, it’s a sure sign another gardening season is on the way. Tulip leaves are a welcome antidote to cold weather — and a boost to a gardener’s sagging wintertime spirits.
What are some of your favorite plants that create interest in your winter landscape?