When winter arrives in Colorado you don’t have to let your garden and your home’s landscaping turn into a barren and bleak winter portrait.
It’s possible to have a winter landscape with all the flair and dignity that you would have in the summer months. To determine what winter landscaping ideas are possible you need to reexamine the spring, summer and fall landscaping that you have done.
First Item – Clean Up Those Leaves!
Believe me, December or January isn’t too late to rake or vacuum up all those leaves in your yard. In fact, with the sparse snowfall Colorado Springs often gets, the leaves should be dry and ready to dispose of.
Rake or Leaf Blower/Vacuum?
Raking leaves is hard work but can be good exercise that has a purpose. The problem with raking leaves without mechanical help is that they are difficult to efficiently load into the lawn and leaf bags.
I much prefer a leaf vacuum that will suck up all those leaves and compact them tightly for easy uploading into the lawn and leaf bags.
Landscaping With Winter In Mind
When most people think about landscaping they usually are thinking about the most active growing seasons and completely neglect all the possibilities that winter has to offer. There are many perennials that flourish during spring and summer, but also liven up your winter landscape when their flowers are gone. These plants should be considered for landscaping as they benefit your garden regardless of the time of year.
According to the Weekend Gardener, http://www.weekendgardener.net/perennial-flowers/winter-interest-90609.htm here are 5 hardy and beautiful perennials that can liven up your winter garden.
Viola tricolor – Johnny Jump Up
Produces neat flowers with faces in shades of yellow, blue, violet, and white. Flowers in fall and often in winter. Self-seeds readily.
Rosa rugosa – Rugosa Rose
This is a large shrub that grows to 8 feet. Has good fall color. What makes this plant appealing for winter are the large tomato-like hips that are produced after it flowers. The hips are quite a feature and last all winter long.
This plant has fleshy leaves and grows to 24 in (60 cm). It has large heads of pink flowers that appear in the fall that eventually fade to copper color and then turn red. So don’t cut them back until the spring to get the most interest from this plant.
Grows to 12 inches (30 cm). This is a tuberous perennial with broad arrow-shaped leaves that appear in the fall. The foliage dies back in the summer just as the berries appear, which to me, aren’t worth it. After the berries die, the foliage reappears, remains until the next summer and is lush and green all winter.
Acorus gramineus – Sweet Flag
Native to Japan, it has soft, curved leaves under 12 inches (30 cm) long and about ¼ inch (6 mm) wide. This plant is grown mainly for its foliage, which is sweet smelling. In the winter, it has beautiful texture and pleasing green, white and chartreuse colors.
One of the most popular winter landscaping plans is to have evergreens in the garden along with plants that flourish during the winter.
Holly can be used for winter landscaping because of the bright red berries.
Eucalyptus and hard ivy trees should be considered as their white bark offers a contrasting color throughout the year.
The evergreens you choose should have an array of different colors such as blue and silver spruce trees.
Many plants retain their glossy leaves in the winter making them ideal candidates for your winter landscaping.
Consider A Greenhouse
Since we live in an area where the temperatures fall below freezing, you might consider a hot house or a winter greenhouse to brighten the landscape. These buildings can house Christmas cacti, poinsettias and other plants which flower during the winter months.
It is best to not leave these plants outside as the cold could kill them and that would return your winter landscape to a bleak wasteland.
Many winter landscapers look at potting bulbs which rise during the last part of winter. These bulbs will include Crocus and Bells of the Snow. You can place these plants in the winter greenhouse or hot house so that the frozen ground does not stop them from growing. They will also brighten the last part of winter and give your landscape a feeling of hope for the spring.
Try Including Birds In Your Landscaping Plans
Many people consider statues to brighten their winter landscape, but you should consider attracting the winter birds that stay in the area for the season.
Investing in a heated bird bath and bird feeders will bring these birds to your garden. On snowy days it would be great to be able to watch the bird enjoy your garden.
Don’t forget to keep your bird feeder stocked at all times!
Winter Landscaping Activities
While the temperatures might be freezing, there are many steps that you can take to prepare your landscape for the better days.
In January you should consider feeding the winter birds and water some of the trees and shrubs if needed. With Colorado’s drought conditions, water your trees and shrubs when temperatures permit.
You should also plan a walk through your garden looking for tree work and possible pruning your plants will need for spring.
In February you can check the trees and shrubs for winter damage and hollow-nesting sites. You should brush off the snow from evergreens and schedule the pruning of your plants.
In March you should continue to clear the snow from the evergreens and begin planning the planting of your new flowers and perennials. You can also schedule weeding, fertilizing of the turf and treatments such as crabgrass treatments.