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Shrubs and trees of winter

Last week, I wrote about how to landscape for winter interest and promised a list of plants that could add to your landscape during our long, snow covered winters. Here are some shrubs and trees that can really spice up your winter landscape.

Red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) is an extremely hardy plant (zones 3-8). Red osier dogwood makes this list because of its red bark. A patch of fiery red osier dogwood against a backdrop of pristine snow makes for an unforgettable winter scene. This plant is a great candidate for mass plantings.

No winter landscape should be without a tall perennial grass. These ornamental grasses, with their tall, thin shafts and fluffy coiffures (seed heads), exhibit a delicate structure that lends a touch of charm to the harsh winter landscape.

Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) is a shrub with a spreading habit (4'-6' X 4'-6'), grown in zones 2-8. Its glossy, aromatic foliage complements its waxy, gray fruit. In fact, these unusual berries are widely used to scent candles. The shrub is also drought tolerant and deer resistant.

Winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) is a deciduous holly shrub native to wet land areas of the eastern half of Canada and the U.S. Winterberry holly's exciting display of red berries is enhanced as this holly shrub sheds its leaves. All the attention is drawn to the plant's fruit, with no foliage to obstruct one's view.

Both bayberry and winterberry holly are dioecious shrubs. This means that there are male plants and female plants. The females will flower without a male plant, but will not produce any berries without a male to pollinate the flowers. You can purchase plants that have been sexed from your local nursery to ensure having a male plant and several female plants.

This is just a short list of the many plants that can be used to turn your drab winter landscape into one that is so stunning you would want to see it in a painting. Take some time to plan this winter by finding areas that could use some winter depth, research what plants would do well on your site, and you'll be well on your way to a inspiring winter landscape.

Anne Lenox Barlow has had experience in the agricultural field as a horticulture educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County. She can be reached by e-mail at a.lennox.barlow@gmail.com.

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