In my last segment I discussed winter plants that offer great berries and bright stems. In this segment I will be focusing on dried flowers and seeds and beautiful bark. Bright berries are like natures candy, but dried flowers can create just as stunning displays and unique bark can be just the ticket in a landscape where winter can last 6 months! Here are some more favorites:
Hydrangea ‘Pee Gee’ (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’) – This classic hydrangea has pretty white snowball-like flowers in late summer/early fall but what is even better is they dry well on the shrub and become dried, tan puffs that provide nice contrast to brown winter branches. These cab be left on through the winter and removed in spring before new growth emerges.
Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) – This native is a wet-spot loving grass that creates numerous oat-like seeds in fall. The oats shake and tremble in the wind creating a rustling sound and a pretty shimmer. The oats are appreciated by birds and wildlife alike and the left over oats will readily re-seed.
Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis arundinacea ‘Karl Foerster’) – This slender ornamental grass has a very upright habit. The plumes are quite upright and dry a nice golden-tan color. Perfect for a narrow space this grass will hold up throughout the fall and into mid-winter at which point it will need to be cut back.
River Birch (Betula nigra) – After the leaves fall in winter (which are a bright yellow) this tree really starts to shine! The exfoliating bark is colors of cinnamon, tan, white and chocolate brown – all on the same trunk! As the bark peels more colors become visible and the texture is fantastic. This is wonderful planted outside a picture window or off a deck where you can observe it up-close all winter long.
Paper Bark Maple (Acer griseum) – Similar qualities to the river birch, the paper bark maple has beautiful exfoliating bark. This maples bark is smooth, shiny and orangish-red in color, the bark begins to peel in thin strips around age 3. This tree is a nice medium size at maturity, approximately 30′ tall.
Liz Snyder, Landscape Designer