The Garden in December

If you’re anything like us, gardening continues on through the winter. So many gardening tasks can be more easily done in winter. The cooler temperatures make labor intensive chores less intense. Shrubs and perennials can still be planted, provided your ground is not frozen. Rain is much more plentiful, or as in our case, less scarce. Although many days are just too cold or too wet to get outside, we have days that are just lovely! Those are good days for going outside to do more planting, clearing, mulching, or just for a nice walk in the garden. Winter is a good time to re-evaluate your garden. Look around and take note of what you see. Now is when you can see the bones of your garden. Many things have died down for the winter. Many shrubs and trees have lost their leaves. Do you have evergreens? Do you have any blooms? There are many plants with winter interest. Evergreens are always welcome, but many plants bloom in winter! With a little planning, you can have blooms in your garden every month of the year, including December, January, and February!
  • December – Camellia Sasanqua, Osmanthus fragrans, Loquat, Wintersweet (Chionanthus praecox)
  • January – Daphne odora, Witch hazel, Viburnum tinus ‘Spring Bouquet’, Camellia Japonica, Flowering Quince, Mahonia, Wintersweet, Winter Honeysuckle
  • February - Camellia Japonica, Daphne odora, Flowering Quince, Forsythia, Bridalwreath Spirea, Fujino Pink Spirea, Winter Jasmine, Winter Honeysuckle, Viburnum ‘Spring Bouquet’
In addition to winter blooms, most of the plants listed above are very fragrant—my belief is that they need that additional oomph to attract bees to pollinate their flowers—something extra to entice the bees to come and visit.

And don’t forget about berries! Many trees and shrubs produce berries in fall which remain on the plant throughout winter—attractive in the garden and food for the wildlife!
  • Cotoneaster
  • Dogwood – shrubs or trees
  • Indian Hawthorn
  • Holly – there are many forms available—trees, large shrubs, small shrubs, deciduous and evergreen.
  • Mahonia
  • Viburnum (many varieties)
I hope you’ll give these plants some consideration this season, as you contemplate your winter garden. And the next warm day that comes your way, get out there and plant something!

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