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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Winter Botanicals | What to Grow

Friday, January 29, 2021

Deep in January is the time to look around for ideas about what to grow for Winter botanicals in your yard and in your containers. Look beyond the everyday Winter trees and shrubs for ideas about garden structure when your garden is covered in snow. Then think beyond evergreens and structures to think about adding beautiful blooming flowers that thrive during cold Winter days, even under snow. 

Large native cedar trees provide color, act as windbreaks, shelter birds, and provide berries during bleak Winter months
The backbone of every garden includes trees, shrubs, and garden structures. Evergreen trees and shrubs provide color when most of the garden is dormant. Bare, small accent trees around flower beds offer interesting shapes and visually help connect ground level plants with towering trees at the garden's edges. Stone borders around flower gardens and stone bird baths define garden spaces in every season. 

Winter  Botanicals  &  Gardens

Thanks to Amber at Follow The Yellow Brick Home for organizing a Winter Botanicals and Gardens blog hop collection of diverse ideas showcasing Winter's beautiful take on flowers and gardens. Links to all of the inspiration are at the bottom following my contribution with Winter Botanicals | What To Grow. 

A special welcome to readers coming from Christy at Our Southern Home who shares some wonderful Winter floral arrangements. Christy's home is always beautifully decorated in every season. Being a fellow Southerner who loves traditional Southern-styled homes, I often find inspiration from Christy. 

W i n t e r  B o t a n i c a l s  

W h a t   t o   G r o w

for Winter Interest

If you have native plants growing in your yard, consider incorporating them into your overall garden plan instead of automatically removing them. The large evergreen tree in the first photo is a native cedar tree left to grow for over 40 years. Cedar trees are left to grow scattered throughout my small two-acre wooded lot. Currently, there are tiny seedlings to shrub size to enormous giant cedars growing in the yard, near the road, and in the small woods beyond the yard. 

Cedars provide Winter color, act as windbreaks from the northern winds, house birds all during the year, and supply berries for birds to eat and for me to decorate during the holidays. 

Winter botanicals provide color all Winter especially during snowstorms
Add small potted evergreen plants on outdoor decks and porches. When the small woods beyond my backyard have lost all their leaves, potted plants on a vintage bench continue to provide greenery to help us survive the bleak Winter days until Spring arrives. 

Boxwood and dwarf yaupon holly shrubs are two common shrubs that do well in my area. Take note of your neighbor's shrubs to see what thrives in your area. Better yet, notice what your municipality plants in the highway medians and roadsides. If plants survive with minimal care in those areas, they will survive in your yard. 

The topiary on the bench is an ivy plant trained to grow on a wrought iron plant trellis. Ivy is one of my favorite plants to grow outside and inside because it is hardy, drought-tolerant, and easily trained into topiaries, heart-shaped wreaths, and ring wreaths.  

Winter botanicals can be recycled Christmas trees and wreaths
At the other end of the bench is the remnants of a fresh-cut Christmas tree. Another source for Winter color is recycled Christmas greenery. Trees kept in water outside provide fresh greenery for Winter florals inside even after the traditional holiday season. And, provide more green outside. 

 Christmas greenery is another source for green color after the holidays during Winter months. 

Unadorned former Christmas trees paired with iron trellises
After removing tree decorations, place fresh-cut recycled trees around the yard and on decks and porches to enjoy beyond Christmas. 

A small former Christmas tree leans against the gated iron trellis that separates the south backyard from the largest natural woods on my land. The iron trellis, an example of structure in a garden, is beautiful in every season. 

Birds find protection from predators and rival birds by perching on recycled small Christmas trees outside
Birds and small mammals live in the woods. The small tree provides a safe spot for birds drawn to bird feeders in this area of the backyard. Birds are cautious when approaching feeders, alert for predators and rival birds. The tree gives protected perches for birds before continuing to a feeder nearby.  

Small table top Christmas trees visible through windows
Another small table top Christmas tree sits on the covered porch. This one is visible from the breakfast table in the kitchen's sunspace. 

Christmas trees recycled as outdoor greenery provide beautiful arrangements for several weeks into Winter
Adjacent to everyday lanterns and collected vintage electrical glass insulators, the tree creates a beautiful outdoor arrangement for several weeks into Winter. 

Christmas fresh wreaths last outside for weeks beyond the holidays
Fresh evergreen wreaths can also continue to provide color until they dry out. Fresh evergreens last much longer outside than inside since the temperatures are lower and the humidity is higher. And, if the wreath is a slice from the trunk of a small Christmas tree, the wreath lasts even longer than wreaths made the traditional way using branches cut away from the tree trunk.

Christmas wreaths made from slices of an evergreen tree trunk last longer than traditional wreaths
Evergreens are particularly beautiful after Winter snowstorms. 

W i n t e r   B o t a n i c a l s 

P a n s i e s   B l o o m   E v e n   U n d e r   S n o w 

Once you have planned evergreen trees, evergreen shrubs, and structures for your yard and garden, choose hardy Winter blooming flowers for bursts of color all Winter into Spring. Pansies and violas come in many different colors and are Winter hardy in several regions in the United States. 

Pansies and violas in a clay pot on a deck bloom even under snow
Here is a clay pot on the deck filled with purple pansies and violas blooming under a blanket of snow. 

Clay pots on the deck hold Winter blooming pansies and violas
The blooms are not wilted, but vibrant happy flowers standing tall in the snow. 

The clay pot is over twenty years old and is beginning to crumble from years of freezing and thawing weather. During Fall to early Spring, the pot holds pansies and violas. In late Spring through Summer, the pot often holds Impatiens, an annual that blooms all Summer in the shade. 

Winter botanicals like pansies do best in frost resistant pots
Look for outdoor pots that are "frost resistant" for the best containers for Winter flowers. 

Beautiful purple violas show no evidence of damage from snow
Take a peek at the violas a couple days after the snowstorm. No evidence of any damage from the snow. 

Winter blooming pansies and violas have an abundance of blooms all winter
The plant has an abundance of blooms and will continue to bloom until late Spring when they will die back from the Texas heat. 

Winter blooming pansies and violas are beautiful in large clay pots
Larger pots on the ground contain both pansies and violas. 

Pale blue pansies in a clay pot offer beautiful color all Winter
Pansies and violas come in several colors, including multiple variegated color combinations, but I search for these pale blue ones each Fall. A hard color to find, I buy as many plants as possible when I do find them. 

However, pansies and violas are not hard to find in many other colors. They are so plentiful, inexpensive, and hardy, area businesses plant them in their flower beds. 

Covered in snow, early blooming blue grape hyacinths are beautiful
One final recommendation is to plant bulbs. Muscari, also known as grape hyacinths, sprout and bloom early in our area. These are blooms from January 10 in the depth of Winter. 

Winter does not have to be devoid of color and beauty in the garden. Evergreen trees, shrubs, garden structures, and blooming flowers are sources of beauty all Winter. So, while you are looking out your windows this Winter, write a few notes to yourself about where and what to plant this coming year for beautiful Winter botanicals in your yard next year.  


Next on the blog hop of Winter Botanicals and Gardens is my good friend, Laura at Decor to Adore, with a Victorian inspired botanical themed hutchLaura is another gracious blogger who shares her home both in real life and virtually. For more Winter botanical inspiration, visit all of my blogging friends by clicking on the links below. 

Then hop over to my 

Pinterest board,

for more beautiful images from all around the world. 

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