Frosted Flowers: Top 5 Winter-Blooming Plants
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Portland has always suffered through grey but mild winters, and with global warming now in full swing the reluctant winter gardener need not hesitate. When everyone is shuffling around in grey-sky induced comas, your winter garden will be full of Oz-worthy Technicolor. Fill in these beauties with some winter kales (edible!), pansies, English primroses and violas.
Healing Calendula (Calendula Officinalis)
This cheery orange blossom comes in shades of cream and yellow as well as orange. Snip a few for long lasting bouquets. Sprinkle the edible petals on salads. Calendula is renowned for its medicinal properties as a salve for healing cuts, bruises and burns quickly. Be warned that calendula reseed themselves pervasively, so consider keeping them on a sunny deck in pots.
Viburnum (Viburnum bodnantense)
These pink clusters of sweetly scented blossoms will have you thinking its spring in January. Viburnums are year-round showstoppers: pink flowers in winter, green foliage in summer, with a bang of red foliage and blue fruits in fall.
Enchanting Hellebores (Helleborus spp.)
For a fairytale splash, plant sweet hellebores. Layers of silky petals are white, pink, deep purple and fade to pale green. Best of all, the long lasting blooms will keep coming all through winter and spring. Try the delicate white ‘Christmas Rose’ or ‘Party Dress’ with multi layers of pink ruffles. Plant in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. The best part? These little beauties are deer resistant to boot! Plant in part shade with well drained soil.
Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis)
Witchhazel’s elegant flowering branches are stunning in arrangements. The beautiful Jelena Witchhazel (Hamamelis intermedia) blooms in late January.
Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquifolium)
Our state flower is a dependable ornamental, growing in almost any soil and needing very little sun. The yellow flowers come in late winter, providing food for butterflies, mason bees and many bird varieties. The late summer berries are edible for us too!
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
Dramatic and sassy, snapdragons come in a wide range of colors and can reach as high as 3 feet in full sun. Against a wall, plant three foot tall spires of snapdragons for blooms all winter long.
An urban farmer and master gardener, Amélie Rousseau writes for fellow explorers and eaters of the plant kingdom. It's a jungle out there.
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