Make land­scapes look good in win­ter

Antelope Valley Press - - VALLEY LIFE - Neal Weisen­berger

Win­ter in the An­te­lope Val­ley means cold nights and clear bright days. Some days are warm and beau­ti­ful, and oth­ers are cold and windy.

How­ever, we can en­joy the out­doors dur­ing the win­ter and our land­scapes should be at­trac­tive and in­ter­est­ing year-round. In other colder parts of the United States, win­ter means stay in­doors and for­get about the land­scape.

When we land­scape, we need to plan for a year-round land­scape. It is easy to plan a land­scape for the spring­time, with all of the bloom­ing plants and col­or­ful flow­ers to choose from. Sum­mer and fall has some flow­er­ing plants, and win­ter has only a few flow­er­ing plants to chose from.

To help the land­scape look good in the win­ter, we need to pick plants not for their flower color, but for other fea­tures like fo­liage color, or the tex­ture of the plan bark color or fruit such as berries.

Now is a great time for choos­ing the plants that have at­trac­tive fea­tures in the win­ter to add to your land­scape. Good win­ter plants fall into three cat­e­gories. The first cat­e­gory is plants that have win­ter fruit or berries. The sec­ond cat­e­gory is plants with leaves or fo­liage that have good color. The last cat­e­gory is plants that have win­ter flow­ers. Here are a few of the plants that meet at least one of the cat­e­gories.

One of the best plants for win­ter color is the nan­d­ina or heav­enly bam­boo. Heav­enly bam­boo prob­a­bly better known, as nan­d­ina is a very com­monly used land­scape plant. Some­times it can be overused in the land­scape, how­ever the tex­ture and growth habit it makes it a good plant. Heav­enly bam­boo has a lacy tex­ture that can soften the look of walls or other structures. Heav­enly bam­boo leaves turn red­dish color in cold tem­per­a­tures.

There are many dif­fer­ent cul­ti­vars (Cvs.) and the size of the plant de­pends on the cul­ti­var. De­pend­ing on the cul­ti­vars heav­enly bam­boo ranges in size from two feet to 12 feet tall. Heav­enly bam­boo is not a true bam­boo, so it does not have the eva­sive habit of true bam­boos. How­ever, again de­pend­ing on the cul­ti­var, some cul­ti­vars will spread quickly, but con­tinue to grow in a clump. Heav­enly bam­boo re­quires ex­tra iron fer­til­iz­ers in our al­ka­line soils to show their full red po­ten­tial.

Dwarf heav­enly bam­boo does not look like a nor­mal heav­enly bam­boo or even a true bam­boo. The plant has nor­mal size leaves, but the plant does not grow over 18 inches tall. Dwarf heav­enly bam­boo makes a great border or ac­cent plant in the land­scape. Three to five dwarf heav­enly bam­boos planted around white boul­ders gives a nice land­scape ef­fect. In win­ter the plants turn red­dish to pur­plish in color.

Firethorn is a very pop­u­lar land­scape plant. Firethorn are known for their bright or­ange or red berries and their very large and painful thorns. Firethorn is re­lated to ap­ples and the berries are not poi­sonous, how­ever the berries can fer­ment on the plant and oc­ca­sion­ally the birds eat the fer­mented berries, become drunk, fly­ing into win­dows or stag­ger­ing across the yard.

Firethorn or com­monly called pyracantha on the West Coast has many dif­fer­ent species some grow­ing to 15 feet tall and wide and oth­ers be­ing smaller. Pyra­can­thas now come in va­ri­eties that can have red, or­ange or yel­low berries.

Another plant that is lo­cal to the moun­tains of south­ern Cal­i­for­nia that look sim­i­lar to the firethorn is the Toyon. Toyon grows nat­u­rally in the hills of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia; in fact, Hol­ly­wood was named af­ter the plant. As set­tlers came to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, they no­ticed plants that looked like holly with the red berries and they named the area Hol­ly­wood­land.

Toyon can grow to 35 feet tall and wide, how­ever the newer cul­ti­vars usu­ally grow to about 10 feet tall and wide and with a lit­tle prun­ing can be kept to about six feet in size. Toyon is a good bar­rier plant be­cause it has spines on the leaves. This Cal­i­for­nia na­tive plant is drought tol­er­ant. Toyon is planted for it’s red berries which can at­tract birds and for it’s sim­i­lar­i­ties to holly or firethorn.

Bright­bead co­toneaster is a shrub that grows about three to four feet tall with a spread of about six to eight feet wide. Bright­bead co­toneaster is used in land­scapes mainly be­cause of it’s gray — green fo­liage and small leaves. The fo­liage on the plant gives a good color and tex­ture change to the land­scape. Dur­ing the win­ter bright­bead co­toneaster has scar­let col­ored berries on the plant giv­ing an added touch of color. Bright­bead co­toneaster is an easy plant to take care of and is drought tol­er­ant.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.