My Winter Garden

Bill_zone6(W. Pa)December 14, 2001

All I can say at this time, is that my garden does not have enough winter interest. This season deserves the same attention as others. What, maybe 5 or 6 months of dormancy?

I have added several shrubs and grass plants this fall, and can already see improvement.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What specifically do you plant to add interest?


    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bill_zone6(W. Pa)

Hi Wes, specificaly are Buddleia, Calamagrostis, Ilex, Perovskia, Buxus, Pennisetum

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 6:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Consider the Ilex crenata (?) "Sky Pencil". They have already added substantially to my winter garden. Their form contrasts so with other less geometric evergreens that I have there.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2001 at 5:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Try of course many of the ornamental grasses which look great dried, add red/yellow/orange twig dogwood shrubs. Perhaps Harry Lauder Walking Stick? Also many conifers have needles which turn colors - coppery pink, orange or purple in the winter. If self-sowing is not a concern, many perennials dried with seedheads look great over the winter...Rudbeckia, Monarda. Echinops. I strip off the leaves and just leave the dried seedheads above clean stalks. Looks great and birds appreciate it. Add some low voltage lighting to highlight anything that is interesting. Always looks awesome especially after some snow.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2001 at 9:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bill_zone6(W. Pa)

Ah, David I think you hit the mark with the suggestion of low voltage lighting. This lighting is a subject of it's own. Ortho's How to Design & Install "Outdoor Lighting" is a good reference. Many ideas and the how-to for easy projects.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2001 at 12:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What about winter blooming heath and heather? Darley Heath is good to zone 4 and is said to bloom fall to spring. Some forms of Erica carnea planted together will give blossom from late fall to early spring.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2001 at 7:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sue_Bee(z6 NE Mass)

I panted my first miscanthis grass (sp??) this year and although it is still small I can already tell how nice it is going to look. We had our first snow last week and the snow looked very graceful on the plums.

If you're interested in winter blooming heath/heathers, try Rock Spray Nursery on Cape Cod (I believe their web site is They are having a Christmas sale right now.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2001 at 10:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a 2 acre, mostly sun, winter garden. It is also a wet garden in winter. Winter is my longest season, so I focus on it so that I can walk through it all winter.
I have lists of winter garden plants for Zone 5 if anyone would like them.
I am looking for an orange-twig dogwood, and mailorder/website sources for a large selection of colored-twig dogwood shrubs. Any suggestions for me? I already have midwinter fire, midwinter flame, etc.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 11:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kansas5(z5 KS)

I would love your list for winter garden plants. I lack winter interest in my garden. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 2:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
teresa_b(z6 MO)


I would also like your list. We will be building a new home soon and it occurred to me that I want to start with a winter garden.

Thanks in advance,


    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 9:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Living in Buffalo, our winters seem to last forever. I am so happy that I planted a pagoda dogwood where I can see it from the house. It has dark red twigs and has a beautiful horizontal branching habit that catches the snow. Very nice. I have it as an understory shrub because it needs some shade. This spring I will plant some evergreens. Holly and ... I'm still thinking. Winters are fine but I'm so happy to see buds and new growth!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 9:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sheila2u(z6 NY)

Can someone please tell me what temperature I should keep the heater set at in my little plant house in order to keep my potted perennials safe and healthy for the winter ?
Zone 6..Thank you.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 4:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sheila, tacking a question onto an old post (and one that requests email follow-ups) is not a very good idea, as the questions often get overlooked. And the OP gets unwated/unrelated emails!! Better to start a brand new thread.

To answer your question, perennials for the most part are pretty hardy and will tolerate, and in many cases require, cold winter temperatures for necessary dormancy and vernalization. You just want to set your thermostat so that the pots do not freeze solid, potentially causing root damage. You do not want to provide so much heat that the plants continue to grow through winter - they need to go dormant. Personally, I'd probably not turn on any heat at all unless you are predicted to experience a cold snap with temperatures in the low 20's or teens for an extended period. Then just set it to keep the temperature just at or slightly above freezing.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 10:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
judyny6(z6 NY)

Wintergardener- Forest Farm has a good selection of dogwoods, along with about every other plant in the world! I spend most of the winter looking through their catalog- their website is I am also interested in you list of winter interest plants, so I hope you check back. Judy

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 12:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i'm probably to late but if you do check back I'd love to have your list if it applies to partial shade plants. My lot is forested. Thankyou in advance.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 7:58AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Guidance on problem with cold frame
Hi all, I'm trying to use a cold frame for the first...
How protect outdoor containers in winter?
How do you protect your containers plants in winter?...
Winter veg
Hi, could somebody advise me on when it's best to start...
Edgeworthia chrysantha
Hello, I have recently bought and planted a Edgeworthia...
New holly babies - which species?
Hi everyone - I have a dragon lady in a container and...
Sponsored Products
Floral Garden Design Non-skid Sage Green Runner Rug (1'8 x 4'11)
Caramel Oval Corsica Planter
$19.99 | zulily
Moda Flame 47 Liter Ethanol Fireplace Burner Insert
Beyond Stores
Elk Lighting Bernini Bookends - 93-8604
$62.00 | Hayneedle
Yorkshire Decorative Mounting Brackets - 2 pack - White
Signature Hardware
Scaffold Etagere
$279.99 | Dot & Bo
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™