When I visit the nursery on a dreary, foggy, winter’s day, I am amazed at the eye-catching appearance of some of the plants. Here are some ideas to brighten a landscape in winter.
This week the Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter’ Fire in #5 containers glowed in the sun. The orangey-red tipped yellow stems would look great against an evergreen background, especially planted in a large group. Consider under planting them with early spring bulbs. Although tolerant of a wide range of soils, it will do best in consistently moist, well-drained soils. Prune as needed to promote fresh growth of the stems.
The second plant to catch my eye was the shiny purple-red foliage of Leucothoe axillaris. Known as Coastal Leucothoe, it also has the common names of Fetter bush, Swamp dog-laurel, and Doghobble. This is an evergreen shrub with arching branches, and leathery, shiny dark green leaves in the summer. In spring, clusters of white urn-shaped flowers appear, hanging beneath the branches. They remind me of Pieris or Lily-of-the-Valley flowers. It is a native to Virginia south in the Eastern U.S. It will grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained, preferably acid soil. It will grow in full sun with adequate moisture and protection from drying winds. Use in a rock garden, border, as a foundation plant, or under larger shrubs and trees.
The flower buds of Pieris japonica ‘Cavatine’ are forming up, and resemble pink beads in large clusters, carried above the foliage. They will open to creamy white flowers in early to mid-spring. It is an evergreen shrub that prefers a moist, well-drained soil. It prefers full sun to light shade with summer moisture. Tidy the plant up after the flowers have faded by lightly shearing or snapping off the dead flower heads. This is a great, small growing shrub, and can be used as an informal hedge, in a border, or even in a container.
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