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Blooms to Beat the Winter Blues

When the ground is blanketed in white, keep the color going year-round with plants that pop.

Written by Elizabeth Millard

Photo: fotolia.com/stock_kris
 
If you live in a four-season locale, it’s likely your log home looks lovely covered by a blanket of snow, but in terms of hues other than winter white? Not so much. With fall foliage a distant memory, you’re now surrounded by bare trees and shrubs — even the evergreens can be an unbroken line of nondescript color, but, thankfully, winter bloomers can brighten the December doldrums.
 
Although it takes a bit of advance planning — mainly, planting in early September — the results of sowing winter-blooming plants can be well worth the effort. Imagine bright pops of red, pink, yellow and purple in the middle of all that barren-landscape brown and the dark-green backdrop of dormant plants. Plus, they’ll be gorgeous  against a snowy canvas. 
 
Best of all, it only takes a few of these plants to enhance your garden. Rather than planting them in an out-of-the-way area that’s hibernating for the season, consider placing them along a frequented walkway or under the window of a master bedroom or guest room. Strategic placement will allow the flowers — and their cheery color — to perk up your spirits through dull winter days. Here are our three top picks to bring a pop of color to the winter season:
 

Winter Jasmine


Photo: fotolia.com/Erik
 
If you find yourself pining for spring after the holidays, this pretty profusion of yellow blossoms, which appear in January, will help satisfy your longing. The long, slender stems make it great for draping, so it works well on retaining walls or along fences. Plus, it’s fairly prolific. A single plant can grow to 10-feet wide, so make sure your chosen spot can handle its girth.
 

Japanese Camellia

 
 Photo: fotolia.com/Erik
 
Affectionately known as “the rose of winter,” this flowering shrub grows wild in many parts of Asia and boasts numerous shades, from pale pinks to deep reds. It’s also known for having a very long blooming season. Some hybrids that include Japanese camellia can bloom from November to April, even in harsher northern climates.
 

Winter Heath


Photo: fotolia.com/Erik

Make the most of late winter with this gorgeous cold-tolerant groundcover that blooms in tiny masses of bell-like flowers and comes in a range of colors, including purple, pink and red. The best thing about winter heath is that it can handle strong, icy winds and freezing temperatures, making it a top addition to more exposed areas around your cabin.
 
Similar to any gardening plans, it’s helpful to stop by a local nursery, particularly one that sells shrubs and trees. They often have expert advice about best times for planting in your area, soil and watering considerations, as well as regionally hardy plant options you may not have considered. Be sure to ask about spring pruning to ensure your plants will continue to delight winter after winter.
 
 

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