Rosy cheeks (and noses) are as much a part of winter as woolly scarves and mittens, but do you realize how many shrubs also take on a winter blush?
A stroll around my garden this morning made me appreciate anew that the garden is never really dormant – there is always something new to discover.
Here are just a few of the broadleaf shrubs showing their softer side this season.
Leucothoe 'Rainbow' is a colorful shrub at any time of year. The arching evergreen foliage is splashed haphazardly with shades of yellow, red and green but in winter deep scarlet is dominant. This is a show stopper for the shade garden, looking equally impressive tumbling over the side of a container. This shrub will form a mound 3-5' tall and wide but can be trimmed as needed. Hardy in zones 5-9
Lily of the valley shrub, also known as andromeda (Pieris japonica) is a popular evergreen shrub for a woodland garden. The variegated forms are especially attractive and all are known for their fragrant spring flowers and new growth which is typically a bright salmon pink. One of my favorites is the dwarf 'Little Heath' which I use in both landscape and container garden design. These eventually reach 3' x 3'. In colder weather it blushes like a little schoolgirl! Hardy in zones 5-9
Evergreen Azaleas. Oh what plant snobs we can be! Certainly the cultivar 'Hino Crimson' is a landscapers standby, seen in almost every commercial and residential planting and bringing a blast of shocking hot pink to spring gardens everywhere. Yet that doesn't mean it is boring – far from it! At this time of year the foliage has turned from deep green to rich rust tones. This foliage makes a colorful addition to flower arrangements and holiday wreaths. 'Hino Crimson' grows slowly to 3' x 3' and is hardy in zones 6-9
Weigela 'Magical Fantasy' is in seasonal denial! All the other cultivars have long since dropped their leaves, standing naked amid a carpet of soggy foliage. Yet 'Magical Fantasy' is not only still partially clothed, it has taken on this glorious rosy hue, transforming the pure white variegation into something altogether – well magical! A recent introduction from Monrovia, this selection is said to grow to 3-4' tall and wide and be hardy in zones 4-8. Click here to see how it looked in summer – breathtaking.
Several perennials and conifers in my garden have also changed color as the days have got shorter and the temperatures colder. A stroll for another day perhaps.