I took a stroll through my local plant nursery recently and was impressed with their collection of plants for winter interest. It can be a dreary time of year, but the following plant jewels will make your garden still seem alive and kicking.

Winter plant display at my local nursery

A design key to keep in mind is the balance of color with green. In this gorgeous display above, they used some good green anchor plants to set off the light yellows and purples of other plants. A rookie mistake is to always go for the variegated, yellow or silver varieties of plants – leaving you with no green canvas to show them off against.

Irish Bell Bosnian Pine

This Irish Bell Bosnian Pine could be a great choice for a strong evergreen backdrop in the garden. The color is a nice rich green and the texture is amazing. I couldn’t resist running my fingers along the pine needles.

Irish Bell Bosnian Pine planted with variegated winter plants

You can see above how a plant that might seem boring on first glance can sing when planted with some others of different textures and colors. The grouping would look bare without the green of the pine.

Southern Magnolia

If you are looking for something bigger, this Southern Magnolia can be a good winter option. It’s something different than the typical conifer and the broad leaves take on a rust hue in the winter months. You will get some gorgeous magnolia blossoms in summer.

Cypress Arizona Blue Ice

This Cypress Arizona ‘Blue Ice’ is a tall, lanky tree that would be gorgeous in front of a tall evergreen or possible a structure, like the house. That blue-grey foliage is balanced by warm browns along the branches. Both the color and structure would stand out in the winter garden.


Gingko! Who doesn’t love gingko trees? They are also tall and lanky in their grown habit. The leaves fall when the first hard frost hits, but that bold yellow looks amazing against an evergreen background. Make sure you get a male tree, as the females produce stinky fruit that you don’t want in your garden.

Barberry Green Hornet

Now here is a hard working garden plant: Barberry. This particular one is called Barberry ‘Green Hornet’. The spindly branches do have thorns, so plant it in a spot you don’t need to walk through. It stays pretty small, about three feet, and produces red berries that look quite merry in the winter. In spring time you will get some vibrant yellow flowers.

Do you have some favorite winter plants? Or is your garden in desperate need of winter life? Hope you are feeling inspired to explore ways to stretch your garden life into the cold months ahead!


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Written by Renee Wilkinson