The Prettiest Trees for Your Winter Garden


Posted by Julien Stern | Posted in Plants | Posted on 14-01-2013

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This is a guest post by some Jersey guys! See the bottom of this post for more about them.

I really liked the idea of this post because it shows you that winter need not be a dead time for your garden.

Just because it’s a winter wonderland outside doesn’t mean that you can’t have bright and beautiful colors in your garden.

If your garden is heavily biased toward spring and summer blooms, it may look empty and sad during the cold months.

Why not keep the winter blues away with an eye-catching landscape that’ll have you feeling happy and eager to get outdoors?

Rather than spending all of your time indoors and watching Christmas holiday specials on television, you’ll be able to sit at the window and soak in the view of your own private winter wonderland. Winter trees will also attract and provide sustenance for birds and wildlife that will add visual interest to an otherwise lonely landscape.

You can also cut branches and gather leaves to create striking natural holiday displays for your home interiors.

With a gorgeous winter garden, you might even feel compelled to leave off the holidays lights next year and let the plants show off on their own merits. More often than not, artificial lights can’t match the loveliness of natural lipstick-red winter berries.

Just don’t get too carried away: make sure to mix and match these trees with spring- and summer-blooming plants to keep your garden beautiful 365 days a year.

If you would rather have just one arboreal centerpiece for the winter, consider using large, uncut stones in your landscapes. In the winter, the foliage will fall away and reveal rock formations that mimic wild mountain ranges and lend a romantic atmosphere to your garden.

In the warm months, they can be easily hidden and let the flowers steal the show.

No matter what you finally decide to do, here are a few suggested arboreal additions whose bold colors will make your garden a feast for the eyes year-round.

Flame Willow
Perfect for smaller spaces, the Salix “Flame” variety of willow tree look incredible in the winter.

Their orange-red branches will light your winter landscape on fire.

In the warmer months, the branches become covered with light green foliage.

They spend those months looking deceptively plain, but once winter rolls around, these accent trees show their true colors. At maturity, they can grow up to 20 feet tall if they’re pruned and maintained well. Of all the trees on this list, the Flame Willow is the most labor-intensive; however, the payoff is huge.

Colorado Blue Spruce
An old faithful, this evergreen variety is the classic Christmas tree.

Its sharp needles range in color from blue-green to silvery blue, and it produces slender, reddish cones.

In addition to being the ideal coniferous tree, the blue spruce emits a very pleasantly sweet scent.

Stewart’s Silver Crown American Holly

This variety of evergreen holly develops a dense, pyramidal canopy that retains its variegated coloring throughout the winter. It’s more interesting than traditional holly, but has all of the trademark features of the species.

In addition to its gorgeous, spiny leaves, the tree bears the typical red holly berries. The fruit is very showy and attracts many bird species over the winter. This hardy tree does very well in tough conditions with poor drainage, air pollution, and compacted soil.

Paper Birch

The birch tree’s iconic black-and-white bark patterns have appeared in countless paintings and works of literature for centuries.

In the fall, its leaves turn gold and red-orange. As the bark peels down in vertical strips, the tree’s red-orange inner bark is revealed. You can use the peeled bark for decoration both inside and outside of your home.

Despite its relatively small size (growing to a maximum of 30 feet tall), the hawthorn tree brings a whole lot of drama.

Its diminutive proportions make it exceedingly easy to prune, so it does well near pathways and in tight spaces.

In the fall, it produces clusters of tiny red berries that remain on the branches throughout the winter.

Since the berries are edible, you can use them in home cooking or leave them to attract birds to your yard.

Snowdrift Crabapple

These petite trees are lovely all year long, with spectacular white blossoms in the springtime and luscious red fruits in the fall and winter. Snowdrift crab is hardy and thrives in a variety of conditions. Wild birds will pay you a visit every day to get their fill of these tasty fruits, keeping you company as their migrations take them through your region.

Image Credits: mmwm, mandj98, jamm2