Winter Plans

Most people think of winter as the off-season for gardens. Trees and flowering perennials go dormant or die back altogether at the first hard frost. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an interesting garden during the cold months.

In winter, the garden reveals its structure. With a little planning and planting now, the flowering stars of spring and summer will give way to the subtle delights of winter berries, bark textures emerging from their leafy covers, and the dramatic appearance of unexpected flowers.

So what should you add to your garden for cool-season pizzazz? Here are some picks from landscaping experts.

A lot of us believe that in winter, everything in the garden will die due to frost and unpredictable weather patterns. But that’s not the case.Let’s explore just a few plants that will make your garden burst with color from hearty plants, flowers and vegetables.

Possumhaw holly grows 10 feet high and can be trained into the shape of a small tree. It does well in a wide range of soil and moisture conditions. Be sure to protect young plants with mulch which will also compliment the colors on the tree. When purchasing, check the label to make sure you get a female, which produces the berries for color.

Soft Caress mahonia
This plant has recently gone under some makeovers. Breeders have eliminated the thorns which made the leaves fernlike and softer. This plant boasts fragrant blossoms that will bloom throughout the winter. It only grows to about 3 to 4 feet tall, making it “perfect for small urban
landscapes and smaller garden areas.

Lenten rose
If you have a shady area that needs a pop of color, the Lenten Rose is a perfect choice. This perennial belonging to the buttercup family, is not actually a rose. Its two-part common name refers to the plant’s bloom season (around Lent) and the rose-like shape of its flower buds.

Winter Flowers
Texas weather is always full of surprises. We can experience a mild winter where it never freezes or years with hard freezes that seem to never end.
Here are some flowers you can consider adding to your yard during our unpredictable Texas winters:

Pansies
Pansies are a beautiful, low-growing annual that comes in a variety of colors to suit anyone’s tastes. You can pick your favorite, choose them all to give a more “wild” look or choose several and plant them in blocks to bring patches of color to your lawn

Snapdragons
These winter flowers will also give you a wide variety of color. With their stalks, snapdragons can give your garden height (from 12 to 36 inches) as well. These flowers also come in a variety of colors, but not a true blue like pansies. Snapdragons need full sun to partial shade, but once it starts heating up, they stop blooming.

English Marigolds
A favorite in British cottage gardens, these yellow and orange flowers will also add a pop of sunshine to your landscape. They’ve been known to do well through the winter and can also withstand hot summers. Marigolds like full sun and can survive several nights when the temperature drops below freezing.

Sweet Allyssum
These tiny flowers grow in little clusters, resembling flowering bushes. Sweet Alyssum comes in a variety of colors, including white, which can be pretty in the winter. In our hardiness zones, these flowers can grow year round. Sweet Alyssum grows in full sun or partial shade, but may stop flowering in the heat. Alyssum also does well in a container, but needs more care when it comes to watering and fertilizing.

Petunias
These perky flowers come in shades of violet and pink, as well as white and yellow. Petunias also have multi-colored varieties and make a great  addition to your garden or as a container flower. You can also choose a special trailing petunia variety which can add some interesting structure to your garden or fence. Petunias like full sun to partial shade, but don’t do well in the extreme heat of summer.

Ornamental Kale and Cabbage
These pretty, edible plants cover a good amount of space, so they give you plenty of bang for your buck. With a pretty purple or pink rose-like center surrounded by pretty green leaves, ornamental kale and cabbage need full sun to grow and also require fertilizer.

Vegetables That Grow In Winter
You may be surprised to learn that there are a number of vegetables that grow well in the winter, such as radicchio, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, cabbage, kale and broccoli.

Radicchio
This cool-season vegetable delivers a red and white cabbage-like appearance and will add a pop of color to your garden as well as to your salad.

Swiss Chard
This broad green-leaf plant has wine-red stems that contrast beautifully with the green we tend to see in a garden. Swiss chard can taste slightly bitter, but mainly tastes like beet greens or spinach.

Spinach
Spinach provides pretty green texture to your garden and grows to be between six and eight inches tall.

Broccoli
While broccoli doesn’t have the color of some of the other green vegetables, this vegetable is easy to grow and can usually withstand our Texas winters.

Rosemary

This fragrant bush does well year round in Texas. Rosemary produces pretty lavender stalks and smells and tastes wonderful. It’s wonderful to have one of these plants in your yard when you forgot to pick some up at the grocery store or just need to add some extra flavor to your dishes.

Living Earth is here for you regardless of the season.

If you want your yard to contain as much beauty in the winter months as the spring and summer months, contact us at Living Earth. We can recommend products such as mulch to protect your plants from freezing to specialized soils to help your plants adapt regardless of your region.