What's in Bloom - Winter

What's in Bloom Archives

Winter Color

Green Cabbage      Blue-green Leatherleaf Mahonia      Pink Cottoneaster      Blue Juniper Berries      Rosey Itea and Yellow Pansies      Dogwoods and Green Junipers
Yaupon and Rusty Mexican Heather

Winter isn't famous for color and interest in the garden, but the plants in the Linnaeus Teaching Garden offer proof that the winter landscape can be far from dismal.

This collage of images shows some of the many possibilities.

These pictures were taken in January, just weeks after a severe ice storm.

White Pine and Purple Kale   White Kale Blue-green Artemisia Colorful Itea and Green Mondo Grass

Visual Impact

Creamy Grass, Rusty Azaleas

Many of the plants for the Linnaeus Garden have been chosen because of their ability to add to the winter palette. Even creamy-blond grass behind rusty azaleas can have a big visual impact.

The architecture of the walk and fence adds focus.


Coral Bark Japanese Maple

Some plants are chosen as much for the structural beauty of their limbs as for their foliage. After the leaves fall, these plants really stand out.

The Coral Bark maple is such a plant. It has beautiful red winter twigs which are the attraction with this fine Japanese maple. The bark on the new twigs turns bright coral red after the leaves fall and contrasts wonderfully against snow, sky, or grass.

Good Architecture

Rocks and Pond

Good architecture is always vital, but especially in winter when the bones of a garden are exposed. The layering of the rocks does double duty both as backdrop and as staging for the colorful plants.

The mirror of the water at the base brings in all the fun of reflections.

Planting Swaths of Color


Using plantings large enough to make a statement is essential. By using a sweep of pinks, the foliage color is able to hold its own against the scale of the rocks and junipers.

And the rich blue-green planting glows in counterpoint to the soft buff of the boulders.

Using Texture


Texture brings its own interest to a garden. Here,three distinct textures and colors - the glowing red nandina, soft feathery Mexican feather grass and lively blue-green juniper - contrast dramatically with the roughness of the rock.

Contrast with Color

Itea with Pansies

So "What's in Bloom - Winter" is not actually about blooming. Instead, Winter's cold, sometimes gray days feature interesting displays and colors provided by leaves, texture, stems, and grasses - with pools of bright pansies added for contrast in those garden spots where subtle needs a little lift.