Winterscaping Building Winter Gardens

Introduction:Red Holly Berries Under Snow

For many of us, Winter is a time to take a break from our gardens.  Instead we leaf through garden magazines and daydream through seed catalogues. 

For others, the winter garden is special, where ruby red berries and bright yellow twigs are made into a magical work of art compliments of Jack Frost.   

With a bit of winter foresight worked in to your garden plan, you can enjoy some stunning winterscapes!

 Locating Your Winterscapes:

 It is important to locate your Winter interest plants in areas closer to the house where you are likely to walk by, or be able to see from the windows. 

The fragrance of a winter blooming Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ will be lost if it is planted at the back of the garden by the fence…an area you are unlikely to frequent during rainy Decembers and January’s. 

Plant fragrant winter bloomers, like Sarcococca or Witchhazels close to doorways and walkways. 

 Shrub Dogwood Stems

 Shrubs such as Red Twig Dogwood are often prettier viewed from a distance, they are a great background plant.  The effect of a massed planting of Red Twig Dogwood with the silvery stems of Ghost Willow  and the leftover rosehips of a Hansa rose are really rather stunning…from afar. 

View your garden as a series of snapshots…draw sightlines from  kitchen or patio windows and concentrate your winter interest in these areas. 

  Garden Accents in WinterArchitecture:

Weathered birdbaths, obelisk’s, benches and other garden architecture can look lovely in the winter.  

Try floating cranberries in an old birdbath…if it freezes, the birds will enjoy pecking at the cranberries.  

Benches and summer planters can be spruced up with bunches of red and yellow twigs, red mittens on a string or even bows.  

Let your sense of imagination, and humor rule!   Christmas ornaments that may be too battered for indoor decorations look lovely piled in an outside planter or hanging from trees in the yard.


 Wintertime is a great time to observe backyard wildlife close up.  Birds will be attracted to suet balls and bird feeders.  You can decorate a tree for the birds with suet balls, dried fruit and peanut butter seed balls. 

 Peanut butter Pinecone:

 Simply find a pinecone of your choice, tie a string at the top of the pinecone (easier doing this step before the peanut butter).  Spread peanut butter all around and between the bristles of the pinecone.  Place birdseed in a small pan.  Roll peanut buttered pinecone around in the birdseed until covered.  Hang outside on your feeder tree.

 Suet Snowman:

 You can get suet from your local grocery store meat counter.  Hand roll a small, medium and large suet ball (largest should be about 3inches in diameter).  Place birdseed in a small pan.  Roll suet balls until covered with birdseed.   Carefully poke small stick or wooden skewer through the top of the suet balls, (you can also use a needle and sturdy thread or fishing line) feeding first the small, medium then large ball onto it (it will keep your snowman from falling apart).   Tightly wrap string around top of skewer or make loop in string if you’ve used needle and thread.  Use cranberries as buttons, and raisins as eyes, or other treats like peanuts if you have them handy.  When you are finished decorating, place your snowman on the bird tree and see who comes to visit!


 The following is a list of winter blooming plant material you may find interesting.  It is by no means comprehensive, but covers off many of the plants usually available at Art's Nursery.   Experiment, enjoy, and have fun!!!


Winter Bloomers Bloom Time
Abeliophyllum distichum – White Forsythia   Winter/Spring
Camellia sinensis      Fall/Winter
Camellia sasanqua        Winter/Spring
Camellia japonica  Winter/Spring
Corylopsis – Winter Hazel - Fragrant   Winter
Daphne mezereum – February Daphne – Very Fragrant   Winter
Erica – Heath        Fall/Winter/Spring
Garrya – Coast Silk Tassel  Winter/Spring
Hamamelis – Witch Hazel - Fragrant      Winter
Helleborus – Christmas Rose/Lenten Rose Winter/Spring
Jasminum nudiflorum – Winter Jasmine      Winter/Spring
Mahonia varieties – Oregon Grape    Winter/Spring
Rhododendron varieties Winter/Spring
Ribes sanguineum – Flowering Currant        Winter/Spring
Sarcococca – Himalayan Box-  Very Fragrant    Winter/Spring
Skimmia – Very Fragrant   Winter
Stachyrus praecox        Winter/Spring
Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ – Dawn Vibrunum – V. Fragrant Winter

Interesting Winter Plants


Remember the plantings and architecture that stood out this fall and winter. Don’t forget them on those warm spring afternoons when the urge to garden strikes! If you'd like more information on building a winter garden, or want assistance picking out a few treasures, give us a call at 604.882.1201 or drop by and we'll be happy to show you a few options.

Author: Laurelle O. Source:


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