Winter gardening begins well before the first frost has a chance to settle on the plants in your garden. If fall is quickly approaching and you have not begun adding plants that will bloom during winter months, or designed your garden to have winter appeal it is time to start.
There are very few plants that do bloom in the winter, but the ones that do can greatly enhance an otherwise drab garden in the dead of winter. To begin gardening for the winter months you need to first learn about the different types of plants that can be used to add contrasting color, texture, height and of course blooms to your garden.
Here are different types of plants, and different ways to use them in your garden to add appeal during the cold winter months.
There are several different bulbs that bloom during the winter months, including Grape Hyacinth, Snow Crocus, Cyclamen, Snowdrops and Daffodils. Several other spring blooming bulbs can be forced to bloom during the winter months and placed around the yard in pots or containers when you just feel the need for more color. These bulb container gardens can include Amaryllis, Freesia, and Tulips.
Flowering shrubs add character, foliage, and height to your garden. Shrubs that flower during early and late, or throughout the winter months are even better. The foliage provides a backdrop for your garden throughout the summer months, fall sees the leaves change color, and finally colorful blooms add color to a drab winter garden.
Witch hazel is a shrub that will bloom during late fall to late winter, depending on the variety. Orange witch hazel, Vernal Witch Hazel and Common Witch Hazel are three different varieties that can be used with winter appeal in mind. Rhododendrons are another shrub that can be added for its blooms which make an appearance during the last of the winter months.
Flowers are a lot more difficult to keep alive during the winter months, and there are very few that bloom during this time either. Still, you have a couple choices for your winter garden. Two of the easiest perennials to find in local nurseries that will bloom in the winter are Heath and Hellebores. Hellebores have a delicate white flower that blooms from fall to spring. Heath is very different in appearance, making a great ground cover plant. From January to May Heath will have blooms that range in color from white to a deep magenta.
Grasses are the final type of plant that blooms during late fall to early winter, but the striking blooms will remain throughout the winter adding to the appearance of your garden. There are several different types of ornamental grasses to choose from, each with its own type of bloom and blade shape. For a description of several types of ornamental grasses and tips in using them in your garden read Designing an Ornamental Grass Garden.