I love the quiet of winter and stillness of it all. The cold and rain forces us inside, pleading with us to slow down. Yet in between rain showers there are signs of late-winter life and a hint that spring is closer than we might think.
You can find varieties of heaths and heathers to bloom at anytime of year. The ones on our homestead bloom from late fall through late winter when the garden is quietest. Together they create a changing carpet of color along the edges of our garden – easy to admire from the pathways.
Fragrant Sarcococca is an understated broadleaf evergreen that looks like your basic foundation shrub most of the year. Come January, it fills the air with a sweet aroma from hidden flowers. It’s not as flashy as Winter Daphne, which blooms around now with fragrant pink blossoms. But I really enjoy that it creates this pleasant, mysteriously sweet smell the no one can seem to find the source of. These are planted on either side of our front door to greet us every time we come or go.
What garden is complete without crocus? They are a classic, and welcomed, sign of early spring.
I wait until late February or early March to cut back our ornamental grasses. This Pink Muhly has fine foliage and pink-tinged puffs that seem to float in the air. Our winter wind storms really bring them to life.
There are lots and lots of winter delights to observe for the true plant nerd. Buds are swelling on the flowering quince, which produces wonderfully fragrant fruit in the fall and blooms in very early spring. I think I admire buds swelling on trees and shrubs about as much as the flowers.
Our many blueberry and evergreen huckleberry bushes have buds forming already. Spring flowers will follow in a couple months and hopefully yield a heavy crop of berries this summer. I have a very eager toddler who can hardly wait to devour these when the fruit sets.
What signs of life do you see outside on these cold days? Who are your favorite winter flowering plants? Or do you prefer to let the garden sleep and burst to life in spring? Tell me about it in the comments below!