Woodland Winter Wonders

helleboreThe Lenten rose buds are swelling and showing signs of color.  I have already seen my first bloom when a HGC Merlin's head perked up one cold, bright morning right before Christmas.  Hellebore are winter dazzlers with many nodding hello while some stand tall reaching for the sun  on warm winter days.  Plant near deciduous trees as this plant likes protection from summer heat but enjoys the winter sun.  Once established, these drought tolerant beauties are not a favorite of grazing deer.  
10_SP_SallyWood land gardens can thrive year round and burst into color during winter months with many treasures found close to the ground as the landscape opens with the loss of deciduous leaves.  Hellebore 'Spring Promise Sally' is a nodding vibrant yellow and would make a striking primary combination with blues of violet 'Silver gem.'  
 silver gem vilet                                                         

Ballerina ruffles double blooms really  are reminiscent of swan lake tutus.  This vibrant pinks pair brilliantly with the chartureuse greens of Pygelius 'Lemon Spritzer.'  We have been amazed at how tough this speckled perennial has been through our cold winter.  
ballerina ruffles     phygelius lemon spritzer
Hellebore 'HGC Pink Frost's' longevity will add a burst of cream pinks that fade to lime greens. The pink hues of  'Pink Frost' pairs nicely against the minty tones of carex 'Blue Zinger' or 'Blue Bunny.'  I am really impressed with how robust the 'Blue Zinger' is after just one growing season on the west side of our green house.  
pink frost            blue bunny carex
The marbled leaves of Arum italicum are a great pairing in a bed with hostas. They will take turns showcasing the beds when the Arum sprout the hostas go dormant for the winter.  Combine with the many evergreen ferns, carex grasses  and hellebore for differing leaf shape and texture.  
arum-italicum    Christmas_Fern2
As you are walking through the woodland garden remember to look up at the tree branches  this winter.  The duplicating fractal branch patterns are more apparent than ever at this time of year.  The cinnamon bark of crape myrtles and lace bark elms are so attractive in the early sunsets after solstice.  
winter tree branches  crape myrtle
Although we have entered into the doldrums of January and Christmas magic has been packed away, there are still many delights to inspire in the garden.