Winter BeautyNov 29, 2016 | By: Tom Luke
Let’s face it winter is not known for its strikingly beautiful displays. Unless we are graced with a blanket of freshly fallen snow, the landscape can seem pretty drab. Most plants and trees have lost their leaves, grass has died, and the landscape in general has turned various shades of brown. For lovers of the sun, warmth, the outdoors and all things green, winter can be kind of rough. If you’re like me and lament every day that the temps don’t rise above freezing, let me offer a few bright ideas to bear our Midwestern winter and add a little interest to the bleakness outside your windows.
Bright Idea #1 Birds!
Many species of birds winter in the Midwest, including Cardinals, Sparrows, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Juncos, Blue Jays, Doves, and Woodpeckers. Installing and regularly stocking a bird feeder in view of a favorite window can attract many of these birds for your enjoyment. The gesture can also provide fodder for the little creatures in a season when other sustenance can be difficult to come by. Adorning evergreen trees and bushes with strings of popcorn is another fun decorating idea that can be enjoyed by our feathered friends!
Bright Idea #2 Pots!
Large flower pots are often used as statement pieces, planted with brightly colored annuals and other décor that can be changed from year to year or season to season. With this kind of adaptation, pots are a perfect avenue to add winter beauty to your home or landscape. Birch poles, evergreens, berries, and pinecones are just a few ingredients out of many available to whip up beautiful winter décor. And while they can be great for Holiday decoration, they can be designed with a broader winter theme if you prefer them not to be too Christmassy.
Bright Idea #3 Winter Friendly Plants!
While most plants are hibernating in dormancy over the cold months, there are a few that take the opportunity to really show off. These species shed their summer garb only to unveil their winter wardrobes of brightly colored berries and branches. Winterberry Holly produces multitudes of sports car red berries, the American Beautybush bright purple berries, and Red Twig Dogwoods display vivid red branches when they shed their leaves. Red Twig Dogwoods can be obtained in tree form or smaller shrub versions depending on your preferences. It should also be noted about the Winterberry Holly and Beautybush, that most berry producing shrubs require both a male and female plant in order to actually produce those berries.
Yes, I realize it’s a little too late to be thinking about incorporating new plants into your landscape for this winter, so for now design your winter pots and enjoy the birds at your feeder. But keep those winter friendly plants in mind, because