28 December 2010

Winter-themed Plants for a White New Year...

I trust that everyone has had a wonderful Christmas, although many of us have been plagued by weather challenges. Here, the Green Christmas gave way on Boxing Day night to an onslaught of weather, including freezing rain, rain, snow, and much wind, assorted power outages and other adventures. Today, the weather continues, blasting us with a few of those 'flurries where winds blow onshore'. But that's fine with me as I have not been outside for two days, content to read, write, nap and otherwise wind down from the chaos of Christmas.

When we were still snow-less in Scotts Bay, I got to thinking about various plants that have snow-related cultivar or common names, thinking that would make for an amusing post. Some of the plants that I have in my garden include Hemerocallis 'Roses in Snow.'

How about a Heuchera called 'Frosted Violet?' This is actually one of my favourite heucheras, tough and productive, and always beautiful.

The exquisite chionodoxa goes by the easier to pronounce 'Glory of the Snow'. These little bulbs are among the first to bloom in my spring garden. I have them in blue and pink, but there are also white forms available.

Before the chionodoxa bloom, however, we are treated to the delightful snowdrops, Galanthus. When the fresh green foliage and petite white flowers begin pushing through the soil, I figure we've pretty much broken the back of winter.

Speaking of winter, how about Gaultheria procumbens, a native plant that goes by the common name of wintergreen? The berries taste of wintergreen, and the foliage is evergreen. This relative of rhododendrons and cranberries likes an acidic soil, and full sun to light shade.

Last spring, I was excited and happy to see that Eryngium 'Jade Frost' had made it nicely through the winter. The spring growth of foliage is flushed nicely with pink before fading to a green and white variegation...

...while its flowers start out frosty green and white before flushing to a rich blue. The plant went into winter with several new crowns, so I'm hoping it plans to stay in my garden for years to come.

While I like evergreen holly very well, it's the native Ilex verticillata, also known as Canada Holly or winterberry, that has my heart. This year, most of the berries were gobbled down by flocks of robins migrating through in November and early December, but there are still scattered shrubs here and there festooned with the bright orange or red fruit.

I never met a Centaurea that I didn't love, including the mountain bluet, C. montana. This is a delightful variation called 'Amethyst in Snow', well named with its white flowers and rich purple centres.

Continuing with the theme of winter jewels, how about this Jacob's ladder, Polemonium 'Snow and Sapphires'? While I love the flowers, it's the foliage that makes this an appealing addition to my garden.

Thought of as a common shrub by many, the snowberry, or Symphoricarpus albus, is one of my favourite old-faithful shrubs, especially once festooned with its white berries.

Now that winter is upon us, we're waiting for the snowbuntings, also known as snowbirds, to come visit us any time now. In the meantime, we also anticipate the opening of these 'Snow Bunting' crocus, sometime in March after the snowdrops and chionodoxa.

I've never seen an actual summer snowflake, but this Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Summer Snowflake' is a pretty fine alternative. It festoons itself in white flowers, and its pagoda-like lateral branch structure makes it a fantastic small tree all through the year.

One of my favourite rugosa roses is the delicately tinted, highly fragrant 'Snow Pavement', also known as 'Schneekopf'.

Hellebores are also known as Christmas or Lenten roses, although here they don't start to form buds for some weeks yet. (at my friend Flora's down in Sandford, near Yarmouth, there are hellebores forming buds already, but mine wait for a while yet.). This particular variety is Thimble Farms 'Winter Jewel Apricot Blush'. I'm looking forward to it blooming when spring remembers where we live.

And finally, to wrap up this selection of wintery flowers, how about the fantastic 'Snow Princess' alyssum? One of the most floriferous and tough alyssum I've ever encountered, it didn't let a little snow and frost deter it a few weeks back, but it's now resigned itself to the compost heap.

What wintery-named plants do you enjoy in your garden?


  1. I have R. 'Snow Pavement' too. It doesn't set too many hips for me though, but I have it growing in alkaline soil, so I had it coming.

  2. I've none to share but am enjoying your wintery-named plants post very much. Snowberries? Who knew? Winterberries are fabulous!

  3. many of the same as you have pictured here..such lovely pictures...I am beginning to dream of spring already!!!

  4. Wow, this is a wonderful post! I feasted my eyes on these "snow" flowers that you have beautifully captured. I didn't know there are so many "snows" in spring and summer too. Very informative!

  5. I love your snowflowers! They are so much nicer than the real blizzardy thing, banked up and drifted into every corner. We are buried down here in southern New England, but all is well. Your blooms of frost and snow and winter are a nice escape for me right now.... thanks!

  6. What a fun idea. I would like to contribute Leucojum aestivum, summer snowflake, Anemone sylvestris, snowdrop anemone, Aquilegia alpina, alpine columbine, Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost', Crocus tomassinianus, snow crocus, and Helleborus niger, Christmas rose. Happy New Year, Carolyn

  7. If only, if only I could get Galanthus here, I miss them so poking their little heads through the snow.

  8. They are all beautiful as usual, though i have only seen snowdrops and crocus, the rest still alien to me. Happy New Year Jodi. Have more blessings!

  9. That was a colorful winter walk! I think of 'Snow in the Summer', Cerastium, although I don't have any in the garden right now. Must put them on the list. Keep warm.

  10. Our snow has now gone, and it has revealed the utter mess and chaos of my garden. The winter plant I would like is the "tidy up my garden" plant.

  11. Dear Jodi, Beautiful and clever post! I love the first photo especially . . . your garden looks enchanting in its snowy dress. I want to wish you a Joyous Holiday and Many Blessings in the coming New Year! Carol

  12. What a delightful theme, dear Jodi! Now Jade Frost has been added to the wish list! Your winterberries are fabulous, glad to hear they are hardy for you, even if the feathered friends love them maybe too much. Stay warm! xxxooo

  13. Hello Jodi
    How many times do I think of you and your garden when I see more winter storms heading your way!!
    Thank you for showing the beautiful winter flowers. One plant caught my attention:
    Jacob's ladder,
    Polemonium 'Snow and Sapphires'
    Lovely leaves and flowers!!
    - Cheers Gisela.
    Happy New Year

  14. What a clever idea, Jodi! Though I must admit I enjoyed seeing all these blooming in spring and summer without their snow cover--we've had enough of snow here already to suit me:) One of my favorite plants is the Brunnera 'Jack Frost.' I love its delicate blue flowers in the spring.

  15. Thanks for the beautiful pictures! It perked up my day. No snow here, just a deluge of rain in south Texas today.

  16. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions! Gisela, 'Snow and Sapphires' is similar to another variegated polemonium called 'Brise d'Anjou' but I've found the former more hardy than the latter.
    Frances, thanks for the warm wishes! It's been a bit blustery here but today I'm thinking the sun might poke through...and yes, you'll LOVE Jade Frost!
    Laurrie, sorry you're also buried...we're getting that way but living in the Maritimes or New England means we can have a thaw at any time...
    Carolyn, thanks for your excellent suggestions! I knew I could rely on readers to come up with even more awesome plants. Might need to do a followup post...

  17. I enjoyed looking at your flowers and berries, Jodi! Brunnera 'Jack Frost' is supposed to bloom first time in my garden next year. Can't wait!

  18. I have 'Snow Crystals' sweet alyssum instead of 'Snow Princess', and Heuchera 'Raspberry Ice'.

  19. This is a great theme to a post. You covered many snowy named plants. My garden has Iceberg Roses. They are named for the color, but most years still have blooms into early December, even lasting through a light snow fall. Not so lucky this year though. All brown and very sad looking.

  20. The image of the "Roses in Snow" warms my heart on this brisk winter day here in Ohio. WOnderful to connect with you on the Garden Network.


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