My Mid-Winter Garden

My gardens are mostly asleep. Overall, they look pretty quiet, sleeping until spring. But, there are signs of awakening with little pops of winter color and the conifers anchoring the scene.

Lemon Thyme provides pretty winter color in my containers
I've been trying to expand my collection of dwarf conifers as I love them in the winter months. I feared I would lose a few of them due to a neighbors tree that dropped a large limb on my conifer garden in early December.

I was quite despondent when this large limb fell onto my garden, but my husband saved the day and quickly removed parts that were set to damage my little plants. Here are a few; all safe and sound.

Picea omorika Tijn - Dwarf Serbian Spruce

Abies nordmanniana - Dwarf Golden Spreader
Abies pinsapo 'Spanish Fir'
The first plant I acquired years ago that really got me excited about winter gardening was a hellebore. At last count, I believe I'm up to nine plants now.

Helleborus Spring Promise Elly
Helleborus Spring Promise Charlotte 
Helleborus Spring Promise Valerie
Pretty soon, the rest of my hellebores will bloom and golly, I think I carved out some space today for two or three more.

Obsession? Bah.

In other news, the winter heathers are blooming.
Erica darleyensis 'Mary Helen''
I have white, pink and a white/dark purple color combo from the erica darleyensis family. Talk about a fool proof plant. It takes the summer sun, it's evergreen and flowers winter through spring. I know they aren't sexy, but I still love them.

I also have a few Calluna vulgaris varieties that just keep wowing me with their four season color. Here's a look at them in winter:

Calluna Vulgaris 'Lime Glade'
Lime glade is a variety that was found here in Portland, Oregon. I was smitten with the bright, lime green highlights and dainty white flowers. Summer bloomer.

Here is another favorite Calluna vulgaris.
Calluna Vulgaris 'Firefly'
I haven't grown Euphorbia 'Rainbow Ascot' for a full year but I've been mightily impressed with it's low care, drought tolerant and winter color.

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'
It's particularly pretty drizzled in rain drops.

And lastly, winter is for the birds.

I stood still long enough to catch a group of bushtits enjoying my suet feeder. I get a lot of feathered visitors to my suet feeders in this time of year. I love glancing out my kitchen windows and seeing which birds have come to visit.

A few years ago, I really focused on adding plants that provide winter interest. I can't tell you what a difference it has made in my attitude towards winter gardening.

Do you garden in the winter? If so, what are your favorite plants?

Cheers, Jenni


  1. I don't understand how you can get Thymes to be so luxuriant and colourful in winter. Mine shed most of their leaves and look very dull . I'm also "on" Hellebores, but mine seem so reluctant to open their flowers they seem to be in bud for absolutely AGES.

    1. I have no idea why this 'lemon thyme' is still looking fantastic (and smelling fantastic too). Luck? Happy to hear you have been converted to hellebores! They bloom at different times in the winter (or so I'm learning). I really love they way they brighten up the winter landscape.

  2. Some lovely coloured hellebores there

  3. I love the Hellebores and Euphorbias too, at this time of year. But I think my favorite is Sarcococca, I was out yesterday doing some clean-up and the scent was wonderful. It's not showy but it smells great.

    1. So..I've been paying attention to all this Sarcococca talk! It's on my list to look at when I make it to Xera one of these days :)

  4. I love conifers in winter, but am now "branching out" with dogwoods and other trees and shrubs with bright winter stems. Concentrating on winter interest really does pay off...and you just proved it.

  5. I really like your helleborus. The first has started flowering in my garden. I envy you! Groetjes, Hetty

  6. I'm afraid I am jealous. Of course my flower beds are buried under 3 feet of snow. Even if I could see them, it is too cold to go out. The wind has been incessant here. I guess I will just snuggle into a blanket, grab a cup of cider, and enjoy your pretty garden. You have really done a lot in a short amount of time. I could easily get addicted to the hellebores also. They are so pretty. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Your garden looks so pretty! I'm still working on the winter interest in my garden. Luckily I also have an obsession with Hellebores ;) I have one blooming and several not far behind. I'm so bummed, I moved my favorite one last year, forgot about it, and it dried up during all the summer heat.

  8. Jenni, you have such lovely winter interest in your garden. Beautiful shots.

  9. I have total winter disinterest and very few plants are brave enough to poke their heads out of the ground yet. I do have some hellebore foliage but flowers are a long way off. I tried growing Ascot Rainbow but it doesn't like our clay soil so I'm going to try again in a pot. Your picture reminds me how pretty it is. :o)

  10. Thank goodness your sweet, yet mighty dwarf conifers survived, Jenni! Our coastal CA "winter" is not much of a winter, but our garden is still quite sleepy this time of year. After scattering calendula seeds & allowing volunteers to grow wherever they may in our veggie garden, I'm enjoying their cheerful blooms, & they've become a favorite (after bringing home seeds from Melia's school garden a couple years ago.) We like to sprinkle their petals in salads, too! The feverfew is also blooming profusely, & the borage is on the verge. Dill, tarragon, sage, lettuce, kale & collards are also growing right now.


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