The holiday season means many things so to many cultures but one thing we can all celebrate is winter. In fact, if this season is anything like last year’s, a little extra color will go a long way to improving the mood.
At first glance, winter may seem to be a lifeless time in the landscape but careful observation reveals subtle beauty; the texture of bark, the shape of branches outlined in snow, the bright burst of color from berries and the many shades of green that remain. Lighting can help to highlight the character of interesting deciduous trees.
Wildlife adds another dimension to the landscape – movement. Birds are especially welcome and can be attracted to the seeds of many perennials and grasses or berries, as well as the cover provided by trees and shrubs. Deer are less desirable in many landscapes. They can be kept at bay by choosing deer-resistant plants and protecting susceptible ones with fencing.
Conifers are brought into many homes this time of year and decorated for the holidays but there are many ways to decorate with nature. Todd Ritting, Horticultural Services Manager for Environmental Landscape Associates suggests using natural elements such as small evergreens, seedpods, berries and branches from the landscape to create winter-themed container garden arrangements.
Though planters at the front door offer curbside interest and holiday spirit, Ritting also advises clients to think beyond the entryway. “I enjoy designing and selectively placing planters to be viewed from inside the home in winter,” he says. “The patio, pool and outdoor living spaces are focal points filled with color, family gatherings and parties during the warmer months but are typically winterized after Labor Day and remain quiet and dark until the following spring.”
He suggests homeowners open the curtains and blinds on these spaces by placing colorful winter planters where they can be seen from the dining table and kitchen work spaces. White lights can be added to highlight them in early evening and bird feeders included for additional interest.
Weather you choose to appreciate the beauty of the winter landscape from afar or bring it to your doorstep, take a little time this year to enjoy the colors of the season.