Even the most enthusiastic New Jersey gardener can be forgiven if they view winter as a time to put away their pruning shears until spring when everything’s in bloom again. When you consider the potential severity of winter in the Garden State, who could blame them?
Fortunately, there is a surprising variety of winter blooms that, with adequate preparation during fall, create beautiful options for the gardens of New Jersey residences. So why wait for spring? With a well-conceived plan and some due diligence, you too can enjoy blooming flowers during cold winter months in your own garden.
First Things First
To prepare for your winter garden, make sure that you undergo a thorough fall clean up of your existing landscape. This process includes, but is not limited to:
- Leaf Removal: Whether you use a leaf blower or a rake (or a combination of both), be sure to remove all of the autumn leaves that cover your lawn. This is especially important if your property has experienced some of the persistent storms of late.
- Improve Paths and Walkways: Though they’ll soon be covered in snow for extended periods, this is a good time to scrub clean your driveway and any paths and walkways on your property.
- Inspect Trees, Plants, and Shrubs: Before the snow falls, perform a careful inspection to make sure that all your trees, plants and shrubs are in excellent condition and free from damage or the threat of disease.
Selecting Hardy Winter Blooming Flowers and Shrubs
To create a lovely winter garden that will be sure to add beauty to your property, pick and plant only those varieties of flowers and shrubs that will produce blooms during winter months. Here are six types of winter flowering plants that have graced some of New Jersey’s premier gardens.
This is an excellent choice for New Jersey gardens as they bloom in both winter and spring. It is commonly known as a Christmas or Lenten rose. Hellebore grows to a height of between one to eight feet and produces lovely white, yellow, pink and burgundy flowers, some of which may be speckled.
Violets bloom in winter, spring and fall in Bergen County. The blooms come in a wide variety of colors: blue, purple, orange, red, pink, yellow and white. Violets grow to a height of one foot or less.
3. Blue Speedwell
This beautiful cobalt-blue flower makes an excellent ground cover. It blooms beginning in late February.
4. Winter Jasmine
This shrub of lovely vines with golden yellow blooms does well during winter in New Jersey. It produces blue berries that, when combined with the golden yellow flowers, make for a festive holiday season. In fact, it looks much like a holly plant.
5. Witch Hazel
The Jelena variety of this plant blooms in January and produces yellow and orange blooms that tend to be dull in tint.
Winter is not the same (especially during the holiday season) without the bright red berries and evergreen leaves adorning holly plants.
Creating a Winter Wonderland
Now that you’ve selected plants and shrubs that will produce lovely blooms during winter months, you’ll want to incorporate them into your existing landscaping scheme.
- Trees and Shrubs: Ideally, you’ll reap the most benefit from the addition of blooming winter flowers by contrasting them with lush evergreen trees. A native white pine is perfectly suited for this purpose. Other native plants you’ll want to include in your winter landscape design are chokeberry plants and Japanese andromeda.
- Hardscape Features: Use your artistic flourish to accentuate any hardscaping features on your property with a wintery look. If you do not already have features such as a fountain or arbor, it’s a good time to consider adding them to your property as they will stand out during winter months. Imagine, if you will, how attractive a fire pit or outdoor fireplace will look contrasted against a snowy backdrop.
- Snow and Ice: You know that you’ll have plenty of snow; if you have a pond, that means plenty of ice as well, so why not incorporate them into your winter landscape? Often, this will mean not removing either snow or ice from some regions of your property. There’s a certain magic to combining evergreens and snow. Adding bright, vibrant winter blooms to the mix can be spectacular.
- Lights: One of the best ways to bring out the inherent beauty of your new winter wonderland is by showcasing it with plenty of tasteful lighting. You don’t want to overdo it, but low-level lights shining down on your winter blooms during night time can be a sight to behold for yourself and your neighbors. You may need to install new fixtures and run some electrical connections underground, but it will be worth it. Don’t forget to include your hardscape features in your lighting scheme.
Putting It All Together
Admittedly, this may be a whole new type of landscaping project for you. It’s likely that you may have never considered the unique opportunities that crafting a winter landscape has to offer. That’s where a consultation with a professional — one who has much experience and expertise in crafting beautiful winter flowers into your existing landscape — comes into play. Chris James Landscaping is in the business of creating the scene of your dreams — even those that occur during winter.
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