Color to Winter Landscapes
Where's the color in a winter landscape?
Gardeners in milder climates
have many options. They can turn to cool-season annuals such as pansy,
calendula, diascia, and dianthus that can last from fall until early
spring. But colder gardening regions have fewer options. As a
result, those winter landscapes consist mostly of brown, gray, some
green, and lots of white.
Source: Greg Stack, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator
There can be a bright side to this picture if you consider adding reds
and yellows from the red and yellow twig dogwood. Both of these plants
can offer dramatic points of color in a colder climate. "
many gardeners have added them to their landscape only to be
disappointed several years later when their once-colorful shrubs are
now sporting stems that are ash gray, brown and black.
happened? It's called aging. As red and yellow twig dogwoods get
older, the colorful stems lose their color and the shrub becomes a
tangled mess of dead or dying stems. To add to this poor appearance,
many gardeners treat these shrubs as hedges and shear them to a
specific height, causing them to decline and lose their color.
Red and yellow twig dogwood can remain colorful for many years in the
garden by removing the older stems, allowing new stems to grow back.
These young stems provide the color.
Older stems that are
losing color or are ash gray, brown or black will never again look good
and should be removed by cutting them back to the soil line. Resist the
temptation to cut back stems only halfway. The stems left behind will
never have the original color and will result in a shrub that is thick
with small, unattractive stems.
After the old stems are
removed, the area around the shrub can be cultivated, grass and weeds
removed, and the plant fertilized and mulched to encourage the
re-growth of new colorful stems.
Red Twig Dogwood
Yellow Twig Dogwood
Woody Plants of Kentucky and Tennessee
and Garden Center
Winter Forest Landscape
Winter Garden Seed Collection
The Nonstop Color Garden
The Four-Season Landscape