Caring for winter-worthy plants

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.” ~Andrew Wyeth, American artist, 1917-2009 

Winter doesn’t have to look and feel lonely and dead, though. In Sunday’s column (Oct. 30, 2017), I shared my recommendations for 20 trees and shrubs that provide winter interest with berries, bark, and blooms. Here are pictures of some of my picks and a bit of information about to care for these winter-worthy plants.

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos alba) - Grow 3-6 feet - provide full to partial sun - not picky about soil type - good air circulation helps prevent disease - keep plant moist until established, drought-tolerant afterward - prune in late winter/early spring before new growth begins.

Japanese Skimmia (Skimmia japonica) - Grows 3-4 feets - grows well as an understory plant in partial to full shade - provide loose, rich, moist, acidic soil - don't cover root ball with mulch - fragrant flowers in spring!

Golden willow (Salix alba 'Golden ness' - Can grow very tall so needs to be consistently coppiced (cut back to the ground) - provide full sun to partial shard - grows in lots of different soils, including wet, poorly draining soil

Winter daphne (Daphne odora) - Grows 3-4 feet tall - Grows well in partial sun/shade - Prune in late winter to help keep shape - be sure not to overwater

Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)- Grows 4-6 feet tall - cut back to 6 inches above ground in late winter to early spring - needs regular watering in summer

Paperbark maple (Acer griseum) - Grows 20-30 feet tall - slow-growing - Grow in full sun to partial shade - likes moist-well-draining, soil

Red Twig Dopgwood (Cornus sericea/stolonifera) - Grow up to 15 feet - grow in full sun to partial shade - grow best in rich, moist, well-draining soil - needs regular watering during summer - cut back one-third of the twigs back to nearly ground level in early spring

Young's weeping birch (Betula pendula 'Youngii') - Grows 8-10 feet and 15-feet wide - grow in full sun - deer resistant - needs regular watering in summer - prune every other year by removing shoots around the base of the tree, branches that rub each other and branches growing inwardly

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  • About the Author

    Rhonda Nowak

    Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, writer and teacher. With more than 25 years of gardening experience and a Ph.D. in literature and language arts education, she combines a love for plants, poetry, and prose in her Literary Gardener blog. ... Full Profile
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