Red in the Winter Landscape
It’s cold and snowy and a little icy outside my door. First power outage is behind me, and spring seems very far away. I’ve almost finished redecorating the upstairs bedroom (although it still needs some artwork on the walls). But my eye is hungry for a strong jolt of color.
Red is a powerful hue, one that draws your eye, wherever you are. Here’s an image from my Mexico trip, on a street where someone REALLY liked red.
A little red goes a long way (and a lot can be overpowering). So in the garden, I use it judiciously. But this time of year, when much of the landscape is muted tones or covered in snow, even a little bit can lift your spirits. Berries on Ilex verticillata (winterberry) look great in snow
or in pots with other seasonal choices, like the pine branches here.
Another favorite pairing for them in the landscape is with ornamental grasses.
Berries aren’t the only place to find reds in the winter landscape. Cornus alba ‘Ivory Halo’ is one of my go-to plants for winter interest. In the summer, its variegated leaves can light up shady areas of the garden, although it also does well in sun. But come winter, its branches are red, providing a strong focal point and lots of visual interest. The newest shoots have the strongest color, so prune out the oldest canes in the spring periodically. And plant this shrub, if you can, against a background of evergreens for maximum impact.
Finally, if you’re looking for something larger, try Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku,’ often referred to as the “coral bark” Japanese maple. Like ‘Ivory Halo,’ its reddest branches are the newest. In the growing season, its leaves are a peaceful green, turning to a yellow-red in the fall. Somewhat twiggy in habit, it won’t eat the house, which also can make it susceptible to winter breakage from heavy snows. Here is a shot of a young specimen which I saw at a recent trade show.
So for those of you who are looking for some red to perk things up during the winter in your garden, the options are varied. Go for it!Explore posts in the same categories: landscape, Landscape design solutions, photography comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.