It’s time to plant for winter color

Even though it isn’t even officially summer, now’s a good time to plant for winter color.

gold-lace-juniper-blogWhen I decided to update the landscape in the backyard, I had something in mind from an interview I conducted in late 2007.

It was just after Suzy Bales’ book, The Garden in Winter: Plant for Beauty and Interest in the Quiet Season, had hit the bookstores and I had a copy in hand.

Suzy is author of 13 gardening books and can be seen frequently on TV. She also writes for her blog called Green Thoughts.

She wrote “The Garden in Winter” to help gardeners learn how to create a beautiful landscape even in the dead of winter. I was impressed with the idea of planning ahead to have some color in the garden in winter.

During the interview she said, “Winter is when we need color the most, but it is the season least planned and planted for color.”

One of her favorite ways to warm up the winter garden is by adding plants with golden foliage, like the gold conifers that come in many shapes and sizes, or those that are variegated green with gold.

“There are so many dull days in winter, especially when there’s no snow cover. But when you look out the window and see gold on the ground, it’s like the Midas touch,” she said.

This idea of adding naturally gold plants is what I took with me when I visited Nick’s Garden Center during its Arbor Day sale.

Because it was an overcast and chilly day, there weren’t many gardeners shopping the outside gardens so there was no one to hear me gasp when I spotted the brilliant yellow color at the end of the row of junipers.

These Gold Lace Junipers (Juniperus chinensis pfitzeriana ‘Gold Lace’) stood out from the other greenery and practically called my name. This variety is said to be the most golden of the conifers–a medium sized shrub that stays compact and is hardy to Zone 4.

But best of all its features is the foliage color actually intensifies in winter.

I bought three and planted them this spring along the border of the backyard. They look lovely now, but they will simply glow this winter when the rest of the landscape is bare.

Even though everything looks especially green right now, it won’t be long before the grass goes dormant and the leaves fall from the trees. I’m already looking forward to seeing these gems on a dark January day.


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Jodi, I am so pleased that you enjoyed my book. Once you start noticing your garden in winter you will discover so many ways to add interest.

Thanks, Suzy. It was great to hear from you!

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