We are so fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest, where gardening is a four-season activity. With a little perseverance and the right equipment (waterproof work gloves and warm boots – Bogs are a great choice), one need not wait until the arrival of spring to nurture and enjoy the beauty of our gardenscape.
And, because of our milder climate, there is an amazing collection of winter and early spring-blooming shrubs and perennials that reward us with fragrance and flowers, even when winter is at its height.
One of the most versatile and easy-to-grow cold weather bloomers guaranteed to light up your beds and containers are Hellebores. Also called Lenten or Christmas Roses, these charming, mostly evergreen perennials are beloved by "collectors" because there are so many colorful varieties to choose from. Sporting single, double, or water lily-shaped blossoms some striped, speckled or edged, in shades from the deepest burgundy-black to green and ivory backed with rose, many have contrasting stems and leaves that add to their eye-catching display. And you can take your pick from array of bloom-times from early winter through spring. With just a modest collection you can have flowers all winter long.
Hardy cyclamens are also a bed and container favorite. Their pink, red or white comet-like flowers and leaves with contrasting veins, create texture and color when other bloomers are dormant. Combined with small conifers in containers, or accenting a border, they add radiance to frosty gardens.
When you are looking to make more of a statement, there are countless evergreen shrubs that flower and add fragrance to fight the winter blues. Evergreen Camellias colorize any spot with their long-lasting blossoms and deep glossy green leaves. Available in an endless number of flower styles, colors and bloom times, these easy-care classics are tireless garden performers. Or try a native evergreen Oregon Grape with its clouds of scented yellow blossoms that transform into metallic blue berries in the fall, or spicy Sweet Box that infuse frosty borders with drifts of fragrant, white winter flowers.
For a more sculptural look, deciduous shrubs that blossom on bare branches create a sense of drama. Silhouetted against cloudy winter skies, fragrant Witch Hazels burst with red, orange or yellow blossoms that look like sizzling fireworks. Rare Asian Paperbushes cheer up even the darkest days with their brilliant yellow pom-poms of scented flowers dangling from cinnamon colored branches.
And "Dawn" Viburnums add a blush of blossoms that perfume the air; just snip a branch and set in water to scent your indoors. When planting, remember that some of these shrubs need a little protection from colder temperatures, so try to locate them in a sheltered spot if needed. One option is planting them near a doorway, where you can always be sure to take in their delightful fragrance and blossoms.
So – chase away winter’s gloom with vibrant blooms! Come to Molbak’s for our assortment of fragrant and flower-filled perennials and shrubs and cold-weather gardening gear that will keep you warm and toasty, when the temperatures are cold and frosty.