Two mornings and “winter interest”

Bristol harbor 12-10-07Bristol harbor 12-11-07Yesterday morning and today couldn’t have been more different. Purple drizzle clouds and bitter mist yesterday have moved over for a rime covered sparkle today. Admittedly it was less pleasant walking out in yesterday’s damp rag than today’s crisp apple but if my camera doesn’t lie, both mornings were gorgeous. I thought about “planting for winter interest” as I walked and thought, “is there anything NOT interesting in this winterland?” When we plant for winter interest I think we shoot for things that will be sufficiently pleasing from such a distance that we won’t have to leave our cozy hot chocolate kitchens to enjoy them. Put your mittens on and go outside though and nearly everything has “winter interest”!

Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’

Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’ is a small semi-evergreen shrub that blooms fragrantly in spring and is seeming kind of bloom-like now too! (I should have saved this one for Bloom Day…) The only trouble with Daphnes is that sometimes they just up and die. Even the AHS A to Z says “Mature specimens may die suddenly for no apparent reason”. They’re worth the gamble, says me.

Clematis ‘Roguchi’ 12-11-07 Clematis ‘Roguchi’ abstract

There just aren’t enough good things to say about Clematis ‘Roguchi’. I know I’ve said this already but any plant that blooms spectacular fairy hat indigo blooms all spring, summer and fall and then sports crazy Phyllis Diller seed heads for the winter gets my vote for president. Julie wrote about this superstar in the last newletter (If you join up you’ll receive our excellent newsletter!)


Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’

Euonymus alatus (Burning bush, Winged euonymus) is on nearly every invasive list and really shouldn’t be planted where their seeds could be dispersed by birds to fragile woodland. They are highly adaptable thugs that compete with natives (and win). Ours is ‘Compactus’ and is at least 15′ tall and wide and has the most spectacular fall color and facinating twig wings perfectly visible now. It’s no wonder at all that people had to have this shrub and planted it everywhere. Too bad it’s a menace.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn redwood)

I love the branch structure and indented trunk (like owl hideouts) of the Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) and am facinated as a little kid by deciduous conifers. It’s so wrong it’s right! This tree likes rich well drained soil and full sun, is hardy from Z5-10 and grows plenty tall (AHS says 70-130′).

Tsuga canadensis ‘Sargentii’ - Sargent’s weeping hemlock Sargent’s weeping hemlock from the inside out

Another conifer (this one keeps its needles) near the house has an amazing branch structure and was dusted with frost this morning. To fully appreciate the form of Tsuga canadensis ‘Sargentii’ (Sargent’s weeping hemlock) I think you’ve got to be a little rude and look under the skirt. A weeper was grafted onto a non-pendant hemlock stem to give it some height (a leg to stand on).

Red maple on the great lawn 12-11-07 Red maple on the great lawn 12-10-07

It seems to me like “winter interest” may be out there whether you’ve planned for it or not! What is winter-interesting in your garden? – and did you plant it because of its “winter interest”?