With winter upon us the trees are shedding the last remains of their fall colors. There are still many ways to capture the beauty of our Northern California gardens by focusing on our winter landscape. Once you’ve removed fallen leaves and spent plant material it is time to prepare and think about the winterscape.
The key to creating an intriguing garden is to have areas of visual interest. Designate areas in your garden to place evergreens. Try using a variety of tree shapes from columnar to prostrate to weeping. There are a variety of plants that can add hues of green to your yard from the dark jade of the yew to the blue sparkle of a spruce tree. The Evergreen trees will also capture snow on their branches, creating color contrast and beauty in the stark winter surroundings. Don’t stop with evergreen trees; there are many shrubs, ground-covers and deciduous trees that can provide winter beauty in the yard.
To add some holiday color and festiveness think about adding plants like cotoneaster, holly, witch hazel, bearberry, and mountain ash some of which will have bright red berries in the winter months. Berries from these plants will also attract birds to your yard.
Our Deciduous trees provide us shade and color during the warmer months play a role in the winter season too. Trees like crab-apples and hawthorns, can provide texture in the yard with a variety of barks and branch structures.
Ornamental grasses are a favorite of the winter interest plants. There is a variety of grasses that grow well in this climate leaving large bunches of stems with slender leaves that will billow and sway in the winter winds.
Remember our fall season is a good time to plant while day temperatures are cool and our soil is warm. With the onset of winter our trees go dormant and can be successfully moved in the garden. Take advantage of the season to change your garden by adding or relocating interesting plants to more appealing positions.
Hardscape features in the yard also provide a point of interest in the winterscape. In the landscape of northern California many yards have gazebos, trellises and arbors to provide shade and unique open air retreats in the yard. These structures will maintain their attractive appeal throughout the winter months.
Stone and paver walls also add interest as they protrude from the ground creating depth in the yard. Another popular landscape feature in this region is the drycreek bed. These rock lined features can be enhanced with large boulders placed alongside. Rock gardens are also an opportunity to add permanent color and texture to the landscape. Rocks offer a variety of hues and shapes that can cheer up any winterscape.