Texas winter doesn't mean the landscape has to be drab! If you are thinking of adding to your landscape now is the ideal time. Almost all trees and shrubs planted at this time of year establish themselves better than those planted in late spring and summer. Plants and flowers pop out and provide a burst of much-needed color for a vibrant winter landscape that lends year-round interest to your home.
Great sources for winter color are:
Available in white or shades of rose and lavender, Alyssum is a great cool-season annual ground cover which can form a fragrant border in sun or partial shade. Cut back when it gets leggy and fertilize for more blooms.
Calendula is commonly known as "Pot Marigold" even though it is not related to the African and French annuals that grow during the summer months. This hardy flower can withstand short periods of temperatures below freezing and will sometimes regrow from its roots after a severe frost. Interestingly, calendula is also known as "Herb of the Sun," not only for its yellow color, but because its flowers face the sun and follow the sun's daily trek across the sky, like sunflowers.
Cornflowers (Also known as Bachelor Buttons)
Pink, red, white and blue cornflowers thrive in winter and require minimal care.
Cyclamen's bright green foliage and delicate white, red or pink blossoms brighten up a winter garden. Cyclamen will bloom until April and can live as a perennial if given regular water and fertilizer. The plants prefer full shade in hot months and part shade from late fall to spring.
Dianthus grows well in our area and requires plenty of sun. Like pansies and violas, the low-growing variety called "pinks" mature and flower during the winter months. These spice-scented flowers, which come in numerous shades of pink, will self-seed if the blooms are not removed.
Pansies and Violas
Pansies and Violas These hardy close cousins thrive in cold weather and will bloom the entire winter season.
Many varieties of kale are referred to as "flowering kale" and are grown mainly for their ornamental leaves which are brilliant white, red, pink, lavender, blue or violet in the interior or the rosette. Most plants sold as "ornamental cabbage" are in fact kale. Ornamental kale is as edible as any other variety.
Red, pink, blue, violet, cream or coral sweet peas love cold weather and bloom in the short winter days.
These long-lasting blooms that grow on spikes are fragrant and hardy. They come in pink, white, yellow, bronze, purple or crimson. Although these beauties have a tendency to wilt during the hot months, if left alone they will perk up and blossom again in the fall.
Other January activities:
- Aeration of the lawn improves air circulation, helps break down any buildup of thatch and other organic material, improves moisture distribution and helps sunlight reach plant roots.
- Winter-flowering plants need a feeding with a balanced fertilizer to keep blooming in these cold months. In mid-January trees and shrubs over one year old should be fertilized.
- Crape Myrtles can benefit from late-winter pruning to remove dead, weak or crossing branches and suckers.
- Prune woody trees, shrubs, and fruit trees.
- Cut back ornamental grasses to ensure that the new growth will be able to emerge unhindered by old foliage. You will get a nice flush of growth in the spring.
- Add new mulch to protect plant roots during freezing temperatures, conserve soil moisture and discourage weeds.
- Water thoroughly before a freeze. To protect the entire plant, cover it with a blanket or sheet, then add a layer of plastic. Don't allow the plastic to tough the foliage or it will burn when cold. Remove the plastic as the weather warms as heat buildup can harm or kill a plant.
Other Landscape Points of Interest
Trees, shrubs and outdoor elements like trellises and pergolas are barren during winter and are ideal spots to emphasize with outdoor lights. Lighting bare branches and twisting, dormant vines enhances the landscape and provides interest and drama in the yard.
Paths provide a focal point to the landscape by connecting different areas of the yard like a pergola or garden, . They draw you outdoors to enjoy the crisp, cool weather. Paths can be made from any of a wide range of materials like flagstone, slate and crushed pebbles that come in a range of earth colors and provide a natural design element.
Contact us for help with any of these enhancements!