Winter Bulbs: Crocus – The crocus is one of the best-known late winter and early spring flowers. The genus embraces more than 80 species of dwarf corms found in a wide variety of locations, from central and southern Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East to central Asia and western China.
Hundreds of cultivars have been produced. Almost every flower color but pink is available, and some are attractively striped. A few have stamens in a contrasting color. Robust hybrids are splendid for naturalizing in lawns, and they can create stunning effects, either in the traditional mixture of colors or when a more subtle selection of just one or two shades is planted.
Gynura (Velvet plant) grows quickly, it has no special needs and the foliage is covered with shiny purple hairs. This attractive coloring requires good light for development. Gynura is very fast-growing plant, with furry leaves in striking colors. Literally, a velvet plant shoot will transform into a bushy little plant in a matter of a few weeks, shooting up in a lovely profusion of downy purple leaves that measure up to 6 inches long.
Colorful Winter Garden – For most people gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall. When the garden beds have been cleared and the snow begins to fall, we are left with a white, boring landscape. Wouldn’t you rather have a beautiful and colorful winter garden spot? You can. With a little imagination and planning, you can have a beautiful winter garden, alive with color and beautiful birds.
There are many plants that can add color and beauty to your winter garden. We’ll show you what to choose…
Dianthus (Sweet William, Carnation) – Dianthus plants are popular with gardeners and have been grown for centuries. A cottage garden is not complete without several dianthus. All are heat tolerant and low maintenance beauties. Dianthus have become popular garden plants, but are also well suited as balcony or patio pot plants.
You may occasionally find pots of dianthus for sale in the house plant section of a garden center. You will not, however, find them in most textbooks – pinks and annual carnations are not accepted as house plants. They do need cool conditions and are not always long-lasting, but they are easily raised from seed and the white, pink or red frilly-edged blooms are attractive. Give them a well-lit spot and do not let the compost dry out. Provide fresh air on hot days.
Vegetables In The Winter Garden – Winter can be a very productive time to grow and harvest vegetables, even in some of the coldest areas of the country. Most seed catalogs are now offering a full array of fall and winter options. Freezing areas will need to use a cold frame, hoop or greenhouse, but in warmer climate areas, winter harvests can be even more productive than summer!
Consider these grow-in-the-ground winter options: carrots, spinach, leeks, collards, parsnips, hardy salad greens (Mache, Claytonia, and some lettuces), cabbage, turnips, Swiss chard, and of course kale.
Array Of Evergreens – A surprisingly wide selection of evergreen plants have interestingly shaped or attractively colored foliage, which makes them useful for year-round container plantings, and winter arrangements in particular.
Extremely harsh winters can be a problem for plants in containers, but a small selection can withstand the icy, winter onslaught. Those with interesting foliage include abelia, cotoneaster, Cornish heath, euonymus, holly, calico bush, privet, box, ivy, lavender, pieris, periwinkle, and many conifers: false cypress, juniper, spruce, pine, yew, and Eastern hemlock, to name just a few possibilities.