How to plan a garden for cold winters

Every climate has its problems. In many regions, winter comes early and stays late, much to gardeners' chagrin. This may explain why gardeners in cold climates often create beautiful gardens. They may be the result of long winter nights spent planning and dreaming. But don't wait until summer to enjoy your garden. There's entertainment out there even when it's shrouded with snow and whipped by frigid winds. Here's some ways to enjoy your garden, even in the winter.

How to plan a garden for cold winters

Platning trees, shrubs and other garden features

  • Trees and shrubs offer dramatic silhouettes through every season, but the shapes of their limbs and the texture of their bark are most pronounced after leaves drop in fall.
  • Evergreens become even more endearing when they're the only verdure in sight.
  • Combined with plants that hold their form through winter, weatherproof garden features, such as fences, walls, statuary and pillars offer reassuring evidence that both you and your garden are waiting patiently for spring.
  • A bird feeder well stocked with sunflower seeds or suet, a variety of shrubs with berries and seed-laden, dormant perennials will assure plenty of appreciative winged visitors.

Seasonal shelter

Snow is a cold-climate garden's best insulation. But you never know when snow will come, how much insulating cover it will give, or how long it will stay.

  • To keep your dormant plants safe from winter harm if snow isn't plentiful, or to increase its insulating effects, cover dormant plants with loose evergreen boughs after cleaning up the garden in late fall. When you remove the boughs in spring, don't be surprised to see tender green shoots breaking through the soil slightly ahead of schedule.
  • Stone walls, thickets of shrubs and other short barriers also provide the garden with extra protection from wind while providing visual interest when the rest of the landscape is buried in snow.

Plants for cold weather

There is no shortage of plants that add interest in winter gardens. Consider some of the following when planning for a winter garden:

  • Asarum
  • Aster
  • Bergenia
  • Birch
  • Black cohosh
  • Cotoneaster
  • Crocus
  • Daffodil
  • Dead nettle
  • Dianthus
  • Dutchman's pipe
  • English ivy
  • Euphorbia
  • False cypress
  • Ferns
  • Forsythia
  • Geranium
  • Goatsbeard
  • Goldenrod
  • Grape
  • Hyacinth
  • Hellebore
  • Holly
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangea
  • Ironwood
  • Juniper
  • Meadow rue
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Pachysandra
  • Periwinkle
  • Pine
  • Redbud
  • Roses
  • Serviceberry
  • Snowdrops
  • Squill
  • Summersweet
  • Tulip
  • Viburnum
  • White pine
  • Yellowwood
  • Yucca
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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