Winter Garden Tree Ideas

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Climate In Nova Scotia

I live in Nova Scotia, Canada on the East Coast of North America. People get the idea that we are near the Arctic Circle but not so! In fact, NS is half way between the North Pole and the Equator. If you are not familiar with the geography of the area, Nova Scotia is a peninsula that looks like a fish and is just east of the State of Maine.

We have a ferry that connects Yarmouth NS to Bar Harbor Maine. Because we are somewhat stuck out in the ocean our climate is quite moderated by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream which travels in the Atlantic Ocean from the gulf of Mexico and past, NS, NF and onward to Iceland and Europe.

This means we are climate zones 5 - 6 for the most part. This climate allows us to grow a broad range of plant material quite successfully.

Dwarf Alberta Spruce with Rhododendron
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Dwarf Alberta Spruce with Rhododendron

Enhance The Winter Landscape

Add Colors On Your Garden

Some years, like this one, we do get a lot of snow and can get extreme cold, but not usually. A couple weeks of -10 Celsius is usually as cold as we get. So, between snow and frozen ground we do not actually do much gardening in the winter other than in greenhouses.

I have spent most of my working life in the nursery business, growing trees shrubs and other plants. Mostly woody or herbaceous material, not annuals. We grow lots of large trees of many species and sell and plant trees right up to 10” in diameter.

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.

— D. Elton Trueblood
Golden Globe Cedar
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Golden Globe Cedar

Plan Your Ornamental Garden

Think About Winter Interest

  • The use of conifers in the landscape is a great way to get winter color. Contrasted with the snow the soft greens, blues and yellows of conifers can be a great enhancement to your gardens. Some choices are Fir, pines, junipers, Cedars, Chamaecyparus and a few others.
  • Add to the some of the beautiful “Broadleaf Evergreens” and you can add a great deal of color interest and texture. We like to recommend Euonymus Fortunei cultivars like Emerald Gaiety and Canadale Gold. Also, great choices are the hollies like Blue princess and also Kalmia, Pieris, and Rhododendron make great winter time plants.
  • Next idea is to add more bright colors with colored wood stems and bright berries and fruit. Some of the dogwoods like Red Osier, Yellow Twig, Siberian pearls, and others enhance the winterscape. Kerrie Japonica offers bright green stems and also, some of the Japanese maples add great winter stem interest. There are some amazing stem colors and striation in the small maples like Acer pennsylaticum, (striped or Moosewood maple).
  • So what else can we do to enhance the winter landscape? A couple ideas are to consider plants or trees with interesting forms like some of the very erect pyramidal trees like pyramidalhornbeamand columnar English oak. Which by the way, often holds it leaves well into winter?Some plants and trees display wonderful bark interest like Bur Oak, Burning bush, Sycamore, and some of the prunus species.
  • And finally, many trees and shrubs display wonderful colored berries into the winter. This include some varieties of Viburnum, Roses (beautiful hips), Sorbus (Mountain Ash with large corymbs of berries), Euonymus Alatus (burning bush), coral berry, snow berry, cotoneaster and even flowering crabs will hold well into the winner with some species. And these encourage the regular visits of bird life.

Poll: Trees In Your Garden

Do you think about winter interest when you plan your ornamental garden?

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More Winter Garden Ideas

Ice On A Holly Bush
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Ice On A Holly Bush

Now, we have considered plants that can be used for winter interest, We can also use structural features like stone work, statuary, Old cars, used tires , whatever tickles your fancy. Wooden arbors, you name it. It is very easy to build some fixtures that enhance the winter landscape.

These are but a few ideas but let me suggest one more idea! By piping some water out doors in the winter when the temperatures are below freezing you can create some amazing water sculptures just by letting the water direct in the air with a moderate flow and some amazing ice sculptures will be generated.,

These are a few ideas but... We are only limited by our imaginations!

 Last updated on February 10, 2014

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Share Your Thoughts 37 comments

Muebles-de-jardin profile image

Muebles-de-jardin 8 months ago

thnak you for your good ideas for the garden

Merrci profile image

Merrci 8 months ago from Oregon's Southern Coast Level 8 Commenter

Interesting ideas here! Thanks for sharing. The photos are wonderful too. I especially love the ice on the holly branch. Stunning!

RoadMonkey profile image

RoadMonkey 8 months ago Level 4 Commenter

Great photos. It seldom drops below zero degrees celsius here, thank goodness, though it gets very damp, which people who have experienced our cold and Canadian cold say is worse.

captainj88 profile image

captainj88 8 months ago from East Berlin, PA, USA Level 4 Commenter

I don't own land to garden, but I have gardened in the past in previous homes and confess to never putting much thought into what goes on during the slower, dormant winter months. Good tips!

penny-richens profile image

penny-richens 8 months ago Level 2 Commenter

I love seeing pictures from places that sustain some color during winter. I live in Wyoming, and it is pretty much beige most of the year. Don't get me wrong, I love it here, but some winter interest would be fantastic. It's a little hard to do that in a zone 3. Excellent lens BTW and congrats on being the LotD :)

jolou profile image

jolou 8 months ago Level 3 Commenter

Congratulations on LOTD from a fellow Canadian who lives on the Pacific coast.

esmonaco profile image

esmonaco 8 months ago from Lakewood New York Level 7 Commenter

I don't really think about gardening in the winter, but now I will, thanks for the great advise here. All of your photos are wonderful, Congratulations on LOTD!!

Lynn Klobuchar profile image

Lynn Klobuchar 8 months ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota Level 6 Commenter

I have a baptisia plant that has interesting black seed pods in winter.

Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia Allain 8 months ago from Central Florida Level 5 Commenter

The ice on the berries is a lovely picture. I bet you were slipping and sliding when you went out to take that one.

CampingmanNW profile image

CampingmanNW 8 months ago Level 4 Commenter

The first 40 years of my life were spent in climates such as yours. Hiking, camping, hinting, fishing and yes, living and raising a family. The last ten have been in warmer climates. A really nice lens and I can't tell you how many pictures I have just like the one of your berries. Ahh but it is so nice to wake up and no longer shovel snow or drive on ice. Cheers my friend, thank you for sharing a really nice lens

Faye Rutledge profile image

Faye Rutledge 8 months ago from Concord VA Level 5 Commenter

We live in the woods and there are naturally growing mountain laurel bushes that give us a nice green to look at in the winter months. Also, a few pine trees. This is a wonderful lens. Congratulations on a well deserved LotD!

Dressage Husband profile image

Dressage Husband 8 months ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada Level 5 Commenter

I find Nova Scotia to be cold as I was brought up in England and spent many years of my life on the South Coast near Brighton. Our town held the record for the highest average number of sunny days per year at 260+. However now I live just outside Bridgewater and even though we are on the same latitude as Milan it is considerably cooler here!

I love your ideas and had not stopped to think about garden planning since my arrival (We live on a 34 acre farm and keep horses!). Our yard is fairly natural and has 15 some acres of grassy field space. However there are crabs and oak and what looks to be beech tress in the hedges as well as the usual pines and spruces, and paper bark birches.

LoriBeninger profile image

LoriBeninger 8 months ago from San Francisco Bay Area Level 2 Commenter

Congratulations on your LotD. Beautiful photos -- but I have to admit that I'm happy to look at them from the warmth of my California home.

ItayaLightbourne profile image

ItayaLightbourne 8 months ago from Topeka, KS Level 2 Commenter

I love the evergreens in and around our yard so that we do have lots of color all year long. I live int he Pacific NW and we have evergreens everywhere in this part of the country. Very nice article with great tips. :)

MarcellaCarlton 8 months ago

Very Good Article. The winter is the perfect time to clean out the flower beds and to check for any structural damage to your core plan that needs to be repaired. I garden all year long and have seen my tulips, crocuses, and daffodils just beginning to peek out of the ground. I'm in the Pacific NW.

Seasons Greetings profile image

Seasons Greetings 8 months ago from Ontario, Canada Level 4 Commenter

I'm in Ontario. I enjoy the winter trees too. It's one of the best things about living on a suburban street I think. All that row of trees on a snowy day. One of my favourite winter things!

AnonymousC831 profile image

AnonymousC831 8 months ago from Kentucky Level 3 Commenter

Nice Lens. :-)

eiramarie profile image

eiramarie 8 months ago

Very nice. Thank you for sharing

lizbirdsall9 8 months ago

Winter can be very beautiful when you plant trees. They help the wildlife find cover from the element. It would be everyones advantage to plant trees and bushes.

lesliesinclair profile image

lesliesinclair 8 months ago Level 5 Commenter

Those look like terrific hand pruners for keeping a landscape such as yours in tune, even with arthritis. Lovely pictures and information.

Klio2014 8 months ago

@lizbirdsall9: Right.

delia-delia profile image

delia-delia 8 months ago Level 5 Commenter

Congratulations on LOTD! I love color in my garden, even in the do the Deer!

anonymous 8 months ago

My winter garden was still yielding as of November 23 when I plucked the last of my Brussels sprouts. unfortunately, though, my rutabagas froze. Great tips for trees! Thanks!

FaaastCash 8 months ago

A better way to add color to the winter landscape is to plant shrubs and trees that sport winter berries. Not only do these add color, they attract winter birds too.

anonymous 8 months ago

Beautiful garden. Congratulations on getting LotD!

jenifestyle profile image

jenifestyle 8 months ago

S beautiful garden!

Bercton1 profile image

Bercton1 8 months ago

Very interesting lens and a great winter landscape!

PapaPropa 8 months ago

Hi Paul,

I love your articles, it's like a fairy tale for me.

Because I'm from thropical country, we don't have snow season.

I hope one day God gives me an opportunity to touch the snow :)


jillblogs profile image

jillblogs 8 months ago

Hi Paul,

Thanks for sharing this. NS looks beautiful. I live in Glasgow, Scotland, where I believe the first NS colonists came from. I think we are about 10 degrees north of you would that mean we're in the same zone? V damp, wet climate here from Atlantic cloud although we've seen a lot more freezing and snowy weather in last 3 years.

lollyj lm profile image

lollyj lm 8 months ago from Washington KS Level 1 Commenter

Beautiful photos and helpful information here. Congrats on your well-deserved LOTD.

DebMartin profile image

DebMartin 8 months ago Level 3 Commenter

As I live in the bush, I don't much plan gardens. But your frozen berry photo has got me thinking about more red in my winter scenery. I have a couple of bushes/trees that have red berries but they don't last through the winter. How nice it would be to look out and see a pop of red among all that white, brown and green. Thanks!

visit2goa 8 months ago

Awesome awesome..awesome........... amazing photos

fptelemedicine 8 months ago

wow.. really interesting..

design_jobs 8 months ago

They are really awesome!!

Thank for sharing with us.

acreativethinker 7 months ago

Thanks for giving us some great information on these lovely trees and amazing photos too. I have enjoyed growing a few cedars and pines in my garden and they add beauty to the other landscape plants.

Thanks for sharing and take care. :)

GonnaFly profile image

GonnaFly 7 months ago from Australia

Where I live, we don't get any snow at all. We do get some frost though :-) We are very blessed to have quite a few plants flowering in winter eg wattle trees.

thegardenersfri profile image

thegardenersfri 7 months ago Hub Author

@GonnaFly: I am not familiar with "Wattle Trees". what is the species of these and where do you live GonnaFly?

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