Fall clean up is an important part of garden tending. Messy, fallen over perennials need to be cut down, finished annuals should be removed and weeds should continue to be pulled and controlled. There are some plants however that are best left alone. I call these my winter garden plants as they give interest to your otherwise barren winter garden.
Shrubs and trees give substance to the garden in winter, especially evergreens. Strong, sturdy stemmed perennials left standing will not only supply food and protection for birds and insects, but will add height and structure to your garden over the winter season. These perennials will add colour to your winter garden as well in shades of brown, black, copper, tan and silver. Seed heads can be very decorative and the stems and branches are beautiful when edged with frost or snow.
Winter Garden Plants
Perennials for Winter Interest:
Asters / Chelone / Joy Pye Weed / Miscanthus Grass / Rudbeckia / Sedum spectabile / Astilbe / Globe Thistle / Sea Hollies / Liatris / Calamagrostis Grass / Echinacea
The larger SEDUMS look great covered in snow. They remind me of muffin tops. With nice rounded tops the birds perch right on top of the seed heads for dinner.
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES in the winter are hard to beat and are probably your best investment for an attractive winter garden. Some grasses are stronger stemmed than others and can withstand the harsh winds and snow of winter. The Miscanthus group generally hold up well. Covered with frost or a light snow they are magical. A very heavy wet snow can bring them to their knees, unfortunately.
Both ECHINACEA AND GLOBE THISTLE produce stunning seed heads which will last all winter long. With or without snow they look great.
Perennial seed heads left on can be very decorative. Of course they are also an excellent supply of food for winter birds.
Large seed heads give colour to your winter garden.
Flat topped seed heads gather up frost and look aglow when the sun shines.
In warmer gardening zones BAMBOO tipped with a fine layer of frost is beautiful.
With some smart planting and planning, your garden can continue to look great straight through the winter months. The gardener gets to relax and dream of next seasons plantings.
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