I'm looking for shrubs that will brighten up my backyard all winter long. Any ideas?
Irish, I'm in Il, therefore most perrenials are deciduous. One plant that remains grees and even berry's is Holly.
Living in Ca, I'm sure you can grow so much more, (outdoors in winter) than we up north can grow.
Some Ornamental Grasses stay green all winter, too. Like Pampass Grass. Toni
One of my favorites to enjoy for winter interest is Aucuba 'Gold Dust'. Aucuba is actually a very tough plant but I find it does need a sheltered spot during the summer months.
The eye catcher leaves add exciting color and charm to the dull winter days.
Ankrara's Hobby Corner
Here in zone 5b, Hellebores and Arum italicum pictum provide astonishing foliage in the depths of winter.
Irish, you don't say what your Sunset zone is so I don't know how these plants take frost. I'm in zone 17, coastal Northern CA (Oakland hills) so we get very few frost days.
I like nice contrasty foliage combinations: chartreuse feverfew against dark green Rhaphiolepsis indica 'Ballerina' and feathery 'Johnson's Blue' geranium, for instance. Oxalis siliquosa ÂSunset Velvet' is beautiful (and non-invasive!) against Plectranthus, either the silver or purplish leafed varieties. You can see both these combinations on our Comcast website at the following URL (note: itÂs best to have broadband to access the Comcast site. However, the Yahoo direct link at the bottom is suitable for dial-up users):
(In the Flower Photos #2 group, the first shot is the feverfew combination. Click on the RH arrowhead button to reach the last photo, which is the oxalis/plectranthus combo)
My Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii' always looks best in the winter rains, although the cold really saps the Abutilon 'Savitzii'.
Another beautiful plant is variegated Rhamnus, which has the added asset of being a relatively narrow vertical accent, which are very hard to find yet fit so well into our small urban gardens here in California. And if you have the room, Melianthus major has fabulous silver-green foliage!
An absolutely outstanding, unusual foliage plant that brightens up our grey winter days is Lavatera olba 'Aureum'. It is a mallow, and the spikes of lavendar flowers are beautiful as well. The foliage is bright yellow fading gradually to chartreuse. It prefers a light to medium-sun situation, my front yard is west-facing and in summer it can get a bit toasted. Very drought resistant although scale can stress it in dry weather.
Note that my property has very good drainage, so I don't know how it would react in clay soils. In the direct link at the bottom (our Yahoo album), in the set of two photos, you can see the chartreuse foliage best in the March 2004 photo. I regularly prune this plant down, it gets to a 4x4' mound. Looks great next to the purple-leafed Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum) I have next to it.
Here is a link that might be useful:
WE are considering planting some ornamental cabbage and kale (in the northeast) and wonder if anyone knows whether the deer are going to have them for dinner, instead of us enjoying them?
Let us know what you think!
I think the deer would consider your choices as an open invitation to a banquet. Why not check your local County Extension website for deer resistant plants?
Marciaplant, why not consider Hellebores and Arum italicum pictum. About as deer resistant as perennials get--won't be eaten unless they are literally starving.