Stems for Winter Interest
Cornus ‘Baton Rouge’
The deciduous Cornus | Dogwoods are so well suited to this garden as the soil is wet and heavy. I’ve been growing Cornus ‘Mid Winter Fire’ for many years. Two Cornus ‘Baton Rouge’ plants are the newest shrubs that I’ve added for winter interest. They’ve the most intense scarlet winter stems especially when the sun is shining. You have to see if for yourself to believe it
|contrasting colours and shapes from the Cornus “Baton Rouge’ H4 and the carex grass.|
Their stems literally glow on a bright and sunny day and contrast so well with bronze coloured carex grass and the red cowberry Vaccinium vitis-idaea ‘Red Candy’.
|Red berries for winter interest from Vaccinium vitis-idaea ‘Red Candy’ H5|
|I’ve planted this one in a container for the winter months and added a few other plants from the garden.|
Their winter stems add drama especially when the backdrop is evergreen. They also contrast so well with a snowy winter wonderland or in my case near by a colourful hamamelis | witch hazel.
|Capturing the glow from the Cornus ‘Baton Rouge’ while in the background grows Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ being back lit by the winter sunshine.|
If you do consider using a cornus in a container please don’t use a multi purpose compost but use a soil based compost that is suitable for the plants you’re growing.
Prune cornus shrubs back hard in the spring. Then give a good feed. This encourages the new growth which produces the most vivid colours during the winter months.
Berries for Winter Interest
Vaccinium vitis-idaea ‘Red Candy’
The Lingonberry or Cowberry is a very hardy evergreen. It is also low growing and compact. The plant can tolerate temperatures down to -40 °C though hates really hot summers. Hence it’s perfect for any Scottish garden!
|It’s berries are ornamental as they are much too bitter.|
It carpets the ground as it’s quite vigorous and produces white flowers in the late spring and red berries from early autumn right through the winter. It too is good for a container as long as you have added some ericaceous compost. Besides it loves the same moist conditions as the Cornus shrubs and likes to have some shade during the summer months.
It’s probably best to grow more than one type of cowberry in the garden to be sure of getting those winter berries.
Vaccinium vitis-idaea ‘Red Candy’ last week covered in snow.
The birds don’t seem to like the berries so they give great winter interest throughout the season.
Leaves for Winter Interest
Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’
Finally another plant that deserves a mention for winter interest is the evergreen acid loving plant Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’. It grows in a spot in the garden that only gets the morning sunlight. However it provides the border with lovely red leaves with a little touch of variegation during the winter months. Mine grows below a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ which takes over with the red/burgundy theme from late spring onwards.
|Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’ H5 covered in frost this week.|
The stems of the Leucothoe arch over gracefully. During the winter time it looks so attractive with a dusting of frost. It’s really only then that you’ll notice the really pretty leaf stalk pattern along its stem.