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Trees and Shrubs for Winter Interest

Because we have so much winter

We have so much winter. For 6 months of the year, we have a landscape of snow (sometimes tinted with various amounts of dirt and tree crumbs. The rest of the world has a subdued pallet of grey-brown bark, spruce that in the distance look almost black, and up close often have a yellowish tinge. Please, give me anything interesting to look at.

Better, I will trade you February, for a second copy of October.

No flowers or leaves in winter, but we do have bark and needles, and buds. Here's a few ideas:

Dogwood Twigs are reddish even in summer, but in autumn the chlorophyll in the twigs bleaches out, leave a dark scarlet. Takes until November to get to their prime. Cut a bunch of twigs for an interior winter bouquet. Prune at the end of winter. This allows you to enjoy them all winter, and encourages the dogwood to put out a bunch of new twigs.

Golden Willow This year's growth goes schoolbus yellow, with orange tips. Last year's growth is a lighter yellow. Older than that is bark colour. Prune really hard every 3 years. This willow will turn into a tree if you let it.

Flame Willow Bark is orange and yellow in streaks depending, I think, on sun exposure. This guy only gets about 15 feet high.

Wild rose Burgundy stems and very red fruit.

Manitoba Maple and Green Ash Tan seed cluster wait until spring to come off. Some of the other maples also hold their seeds.

Lilac Dark brown seed capsules.

Snowberry The tissue between the leaf veins dries and falls away, leaving the leaf with a delicate tracery of veins.

High Bush Cranberry Winter buds are magenta.

Pussy Willow All winter: milk chocolate coloured twigs. Late winter: Branches are strewn with fuzzy catkins. If you cut a bunch of twigs in February, and set them in water, you can trick them into doing their show early.

Birches Bark ranging in colour from white to grey to sometimes pale salmon. Bark peels in interesting patterns. Twigs and young branches are dark chocolate.

Amur Cherry Bark is a copper-gold colour with some peeling.

Ninebark Older branches have streaked shredded looking bark with light and dark stripes.


Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 9 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548


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Copyright © 2008 - 2017 S. G. Botsford

Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.