2011-02-05 / Front Page

Knowing Where to Look

Plenty of winter color, patterns in nature
By Scott Rawdon

Western Dogwood Western Dogwood JACKSONTOWN – Who says dormant means dull? Mike Ecker, Dawes Arboretum Director of Horticulture, said there’s plenty of color and patterns to be found in nature during the winter months if one knows where to look. For instance, take the Panicle Hydrangea that hangs onto its bloom—albeit dried—all winter. Ecker said it blooms late in summer and its flower lasts forever in a dried arrangement. He said the variety is attractive in late summer and easy to grow. “It’s certainly worth it,” Ecker said.

However, a tree or plant’s color and interesting features aren’t just limited to its blooms. The Coral Bark Striped Maple, or “Moosewood” adds a dash of red, particularly when the tree is young and is missing leaves for the season. The Western Dogwood is another tree sporting red bark.

Paperbark Maple Paperbark Maple The Afterglow Common Winterberry virtually ignites with orange berries during the winter. “It’s actually a deciduous holly,” Ecker said. He said the bright berries’ color may be enjoyed most of the winter because birds won’t generally eat them until they’ve frozen and thawed a couple times near spring.

As pure as the driven snow, the Renaissance Reflection White Birch’s whitewashed bark blends nicely with its wintry surroundings.

One of the arboretum’s more interesting trees is the “Silver Ghost” Lacebark Pine, whose bark resembles camouflage. “That’s one of our introductions,” said Ecker, who’s quite proud of the unusual and beautiful tree.

Similar but different is the Japanese Stewartia, whose bark shares a camouflage pattern but is more orange. “It changes shades every day,” Ecker said. The Paperback Maple is a good choice for people wanting to add winter interest to their properties. “It’s a nice landscape tree,” he said. The tree’s peeling bark makes for some interesting patterns.

"Silver Ghost" Lacebark Pine "Silver Ghost" Lacebark Pine According to eHow. com, winter trees can be a great addition to any landscape. Whether you are looking for a sturdy tree to survive extreme weather or just want some low maintenance trees that won't drop their leaves, there are lots of great choices. The web site provides some advice on selecting a tree:

• Decide on the functionality of the trees. Do you want color? Do you want no-maintenance trees? Decide on the adult size of the trees you desire. This is very important, as it will help you determine how many trees to plant.

• Research the trees that are recommended for winter in your zone. You can do this by calling a local tree nursery or looking online. It is recommended you talk to a local nursery as they are going to be more familiar with your region and zone.

Japanese Stewartia Japanese Stewartia • Make the decision and place your order. It is recommended you place an order and not purchase the trees directly unless the planting area is already prepared appropriately.

• Prepare the planting area. You want to make sure the soil is full of nutrients, clear of debris and level. Mark out where the trees will go based on the full-grown size of each tree. If you get them too close, they will lean and not have room for roots to grow.

• Plant the trees according to the information provided to you by the nursery. They need to be placed in a hole twice as wide and slightly shallower than the root ball.

Panicle Hydrangea Panicle Hydrangea

Renaissance Reflection White Birch Renaissance Reflection White Birch

Coral Bark Striped Maple or "Moosewood" Coral Bark Striped Maple or "Moosewood"

"Sliver Ghost" Lacebark Pine "Sliver Ghost" Lacebark Pine

Star Magnolia Star Magnolia

Afterglow Common Winterberry 
Photos by Scott Rawdon Afterglow Common Winterberry Photos by Scott Rawdon

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