Texture brings beauty to gardens in winter

Rob Zimmer

One of my favorite elements in the winter garden is texture. While coloration and blooms are limited, texture becomes a focal point and an element of beauty and elegance during the winter season.

There are many great ways to bring texture to the winter garden in the shape and form of the plants we include in our landscapes.

While they look beautiful all through spring, summer and fall, many of these plants stand out exceptionally well during the winter season.

Texture brings pleasing interest, movement and motion, contrast, gracefulness and flow to the garden, especially once the snow begins to fly.

Some of the best garden plants that bring incredible texture to the garden are ornamental grasses. Providing, of course, that you don’t cut them back in the fall, ornamental grasses provide winter-long beauty, grace and elegance, as well as vertical interest in the garden.

Many grasses also feature gorgeous color, even in the winter, in shades of metallic gold, copper and bronze. The feathery plumes of many grasses make them stand-out texture beauties in the winter garden.

The seed heads of many garden plants — especially sunflowers, purple coneflowers and black-eyed Susans, as well as old-fashion favorites like Queen Anne’s lace and goldenrod, along with bee balm, turtlehead and others — bring much beauty and texture to the winter garden.

Conifers, of course, are another source of texture in the winter garden. The needles and scaly fronds of many conifers are standouts in the winter garden. Be sure to include conifers in gold and powder blue, as well as the standard shades of evergreen.

Even the berries and fruits of many of our garden plants provide winter beauty and texture.

Round clusters of berries in red, blue and purple bring a burst of color as well as their unique texture. Berry-producing trees and shrubs such as juniper, highbush cranberry, ninebark, chokeberries and others are great additions to the winter garden.

Don’t forget the trees when it comes to planning for texture in the garden. The ruffled, feathery bark of white birch, river birch and yellow birch is beautiful in all seasons.

Shagbark hickory, hackberry, hawthorne, black cherry and others feature distinct bark textures that are perfect for the winter garden.

Other sources of texture for the winter garden come in the form of our adornments and hardscape. Natural rock, brick and woodwork all provide great opportunities to add additional texture to the garden to last all through winter.

Seasonal adornments such as boughs, wreaths, swags and porch pots featuring evergreens and birch logs, pine cones and other natural elements add to the texture and beauty of the winter garden.

Rob Zimmer is a nature and garden author, public speaker and radio show host on WHBY. Readers can find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RobZimmerOutdoors.