It’s hard for many people to understand, but there are some of us who love winter. If you are one who would rather think about winter from a distance of six months or so, or if you’d like to experiment with a unique theme garden next year, here are some plants you might include in a winter/snow/ice-themed landscape. Perhaps it will provide a psychological cooling effect on those 90ﹾ July days!
‘Heavenly Angel Ice’ Daylily blooms mid-to-late summer and again in early fall. Its 8” spider-shaped blooms are pure white with green to yellow throats held on stems 36” tall above grass-like foliage. Like most daylilies, they do best in full sun or light shade. They will tolerate clay, loamy or sandy soils. Spent flower stems should be trimmed after blooms are finished. They are easily divided in fall or early spring but it won’t be necessary for several years.
Another perennial plant, ‘Snow Drift’ Astilbe has bright green fern-like leaves and white feathery plumes of flowers from early June to July. Partial or full shade is best and they prefer a rich, moist soil with regular watering. Plants are 20-23” tall and spread about the same distance. They do well in flowerbeds as well as large tubs or mixed containers. Dried seed heads may be cut or left in place for winter interest. Divide in early spring every 2-3 years.
‘Snow Princess Alyssum’ is an annual plant for growing in part to full sun. Thousands of fragrant, tiny, star-shaped white flowers cover the plant which grows 10-16” tall and spreads 24-48”. It is also a good plant as a “spiller” in containers, but requires generous watering. Be prepared to water twice a day or use an extra-large container. If the soil does dry out though, the plant will be quick to recover once rehydrated. Alyssum will bloom from planting time in spring until hard frost in fall. No deadheading is necessary for continuous bloom but it may easily be cut back with a shears if it begins to spread out of bounds.
‘Snowstorm’ Spirea is a hardy shrub that grows 3-5’ tall and wide. Numerous tiny pristine white flowers in 6-8” wide dome-shaped clusters appear from May to June. Deadheading the flowers encourages some re-bloom. ‘Snowstorm’ is attractive the entire growing season with pretty blue-green summer foliage and bright red and orange fall color. It prefers full sun and average, well-drained soil. Pruning is done in late winter to early spring. Use a large shears to lightly shape the plants, or cut them back hard to just a few inches tall. Spireas are good for borders, informal hedges or foundation plants. Pollinators love spireas but deer pass them by.
There are many other plants that you could include in a winter-themed garden. Here are a few: Snowberry, ‘Snow Thimble’ Foxglove, ‘Summer Snowflake’ Viburnum, Snowdrops, ‘Annabelle” Snowball Hydrangea, Winterberry Holly, Winter Aconite, ‘Yuki Snowflake’ Deutzia, and ‘Snow Fairy’ Blue Mist Shrub.