Winter is here in the Northwest and we have had very little cold weather so far, but we are only a few weeks in and it can change in a heartbeat. There are some highlights outside just the same. Here are a few things I have seen that may be of interest.
First in the lineup is Hellebore. They begin to bloom now and put on a show for quite sometime. Singles, doubles, heritage and a whole bunch of other varieties are beginning to strut their stuff.
This is about the time I cut the old foliage out completely. It really is good for the plant and it gives way for the new blooms to be accentuated in your borders. Garden centers should have a good supply to choose from. Make sure you think about where you want them as they don’t transplant well after established.
Another early bloomer is the common pussy willow (Salix caprea). My mom used to go crazy when the pussy willows came into bloom and I guess that’s why I love them too. Usually a multi-trunked shrub, they do well by keeping them pruned back as they bloom on last years new growth.
Not all the color outside right now is in the form of bloom. Many plants will take on an exaggerated color in winter that really is a pleasant surprise. One of these plants is the PJM Rhododendron. A smaller leaved Rhody that transforms to a rich, dark burgundy color during the colder months. Then in early spring, the purple flowers really set this one off. A must for any garden.
For that splash of bright color, look to the Primrose that is waiting for you at your garden center now. The range of color is fascinating and they are pretty tough plants in the cold. Don’t expect them to last long into the spring, because you will probably want to transition to other favorite annuals. Take advantage of them while they are flourishing and containers are a great place to show them off.
These are just a few of the many plants that have fantastic interest now in the Northwest. I just couldn’t sign off without mention of the sunsets that grace the skies here in winter. Even with the seemingly endless gray skies, we are blessed with some of the best works of art during the cold season.
Happy Gardening! Mallory