8 Colorful Plants for a Wonderful Winter Garden

Let’s get close up and personal with 8 colorful plants for a wonderful Winter garden! What you see outside of your windows this time of year can be colorful and interesting! So here’s some colorful evergreen eye candy to inspire you . . .

Colorful Plants for a Wonderful Winter Garden

As I type this to you, we’re in the midst of another Nor’easter here in southern New Jersey. After raining all night, it changed over to sleet and now has begun to snow. We’re expecting a couple of inches, but I’m always hoping for much more than that! (I can’t help it — I truly miss the massive snowstorms I enjoyed when I lived up in Boston!)

Why am I talking about what’s going on outside at this exact moment?

Because yesterday it was sunny and in the mid-60s outside.


magnolia jane catkins in Winter

I went outside to take some pictures, and had to first come back inside and put a t-shirt on, instead of the sweater-plus-layers I’m used to wearing!

Evergreens: an easy solution to add color in Winter!

Not too long ago, I shared with you a two-part blog post showing off all the Fall colors within our gardens.

Many of our plants are evergreen, meaning we still have quite a bit of color during the Winter season too.

Planting some evergreens is indeed an easy way for you to add some color and Winter interest to your own gardens.

It may mean adding a tiny, miniature shrub. Or two. Or a variety of them over time, which is what we’ve done.

And what we’re still doing!

Gardens are ever-changing, whether you want them to be or not! Learn what you like — and what your garden likes too — and tweak, and add and subtract to your heart’s content.

Or just let nature do it for you! That’s always an option.

The following photos were taken at very close range, because I wanted to emphasize the different colors and textures for you.

If there’s one thing I want you to always remember:

Evergreens come in many colors! Not just green.

I hope the images I share in this post will inspire you!

A leaf-phobic neighborhood!

Because I don’t want any of our perennials to freeze or die over the Winter season, I always keep our garden beds in our backyard covered with leaves.

I don’t do this in the front yard because my neighbors would probably freak out!

We live in a leaf-phobic neighborhood!

All leaves must be removed almost as soon as they touch the ground.

Forget any idea of a yard looking like Fall, or kids jumping in leaf piles.

No, leaves are evil. And yes, I’m being sarcastic.

I love when it’s time to uncover the backyard garden beds in early Spring! To remove the dead leaves and expose all the new growth hiding underneath always fills me with joy!

During the Winter season, we have so many evergreens in our backyard, that our eyes are drawn to those instead of the leaves in the beds.

So imagine my surprise when I looked out yesterday — it being early February — and next to our rusty cat, surrounded by leaves, was our Heather IN. FULL. BLOOM.

evergreen heather in the Winter garden

And apologies if you’re also leaf phobic, as I imagine looking at this image above no doubt has you convulsing in a series of nervous twitches.

Yes, I’m being sarcastic again, because I’ll never understand the overwhelming desire to remove Fall leaves immediately.

Even if there’s just two leaves on the ground, THEY. MUST. GO.

8 colorful plants for a wonderful Winter garden!

So, I digress, but it was actually amazing to look out of our breakfast room windows and notice the brilliant color of the Heather popping up.

heather plant in full bloom

Upon this close up and personal inspection, you can see that not only is it blooming already, but it’s growing! I don’t know if this is good or bad. Our white Heather in our front garden seems to have a mind of its own and blooms whenever it wants. I guess this purple Heather wants to join in on the fun, and I’m not complaining one bit!

So what else is eye-catching in our backyard in the dead of Winter?

How about our Magnolia Janes? Scroll up to the earlier image I shared, and here’s a close-up below of the fuzzy catkins that totally look like pussy willows! I’m as fascinated with their soft texture now at age 50 as I was when only a child. I covered Magnolia Janes in depth here: Magnolia Jane: you absolutely need this stunning flowering tree!

close-up of magnolia jane catkins

This is our King’s Gold Cypress. It’s basically a mop cypress, and the gold color is refreshing to the eye this time of year!

king's gold cypress shrub

Don’t knock the small size of Blue Star Junipers. Their striking blue color makes up for their short height. An evergreen that’s blue? Yes please!

blue star juniper

One of my favorite evergreens — which can be grown as a tree or a shrub — is Red Tipped Photinia. I’m planning a future post on this amazing plant so stay tuned. It’s a broad-leafed evergreen that truly has red tips when there are new shoots and leaves.

red tipped photinia

Ahhhhhh, the Winter color of our Rheingolds is the exact reason we purchased these shrubs! The copper color during this season is outstanding! If you look closely below, you’ll see some of the greener parts tucked farther in. I’m working on a post about this shrub too, as it’s another must-try for your landscape.

Rheingold copper color in Winter

Behold, the evergreen Shore Juniper. Kind of a standard shrub — but of course I don’t think there’s anything standard about it personally. It’s a wonderful evergreen with branches that sort of spray upward from the base. When you get super close and personal, like the image below, you notice the texture and pattern too.

shore juniper

One plant that’s missing from this list isn’t truly missing, because I devoted a separate post about it:

Red Twig Dogwood! This is a must-have for Winter interest — in fact that’s primarily why people want it in their gardens. But ours actually bloomed last season, so I consider this plant more than just for one season. You can learn more in my post here: Red Twig Dogwood.

Surprise: our Red Twig Dogwoods are blooming!

OK, so this last example of Winter color isn’t an evergreen, but it is an important part of our backyard Winter scene: the dried flowers on our Limelight Hydrangea Tree. The texture is so pretty, and the dried blossoms are so delicate.

dried hydrangea blossoms in Winter

So now’s the time to pour through those plant catalogs, or check out plant websites, and plan what you want to see in your garden next Winter!

Many of these shrubs are sold in the Spring, so you’ll be able to enjoy colors like these next year!

You can also get more ideas in my two-part post about Fall Garden color:

How to get brilliant Fall color in your garden: Part One
How to get brilliant Fall color in your garden: Part Two

How to get brilliant Fall color in your garden

Happy garden planning!



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