Winter Garden Design

Figuure 1: Snow Covered Rowan

When designing your winter garden, choose elements that create winter interest. Select plants that exhibit interesting structural characteristics. Add movement and texture by leaving dried forms of perennials or ornamental grasses overwinter. Attract birds by leaving seed heads of perennials such as purple coneflower, sunflowers, and sedum. Most of your winter garden’s vibrant colours come from the berries and fruits of plants such as hollies, barberry, and firethorn. Hydrangeas are another great source of winter interest. Leave them intact, allowing the flower blossom to dry. The faded flowers of a hydrangea look like oversized snowflakes. Showcase trees such as Paperbark maple or birch trees. They have a bark that peels to reveal new forms and produce a colourful collage on their trunks. Showcase large garden ornaments such as planted pots and sculptures. Conifers like arborvitae, false cypress, and juniper can add structure to a winter-interest container. Tree branches can also produce a variety or colours and forms. Plant species with vibrant branches in groups to create broad swaths of rich winter colour such as red twig dogwood. Plant winter-flowering shrubs such as witch hazel, winter daphne, and winter heath. Evergreen trees, such as pines and cedars, can dominate your winter garden and can create a beautiful background.

These tips come from and the Landscaping Network. For more gardening tips, check out the virtual education packages on our website If you have an interest in gardening – join the North Bay Heritage Gardeners! New volunteers are always welcome. No gardening experience is required. Visit

Kayla Gervais, Office Administrator
Suite 112-245 Oak St. E.,
North Bay, ON P1B 8P8

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