Plants for all Seasons

After deciduous trees have shed their leaves in cold climates, the landscape need not be a boring and drab scene. There are a number of plants that display ornamental characteristics during the chillier months of the year, sporting colorful and interesting bark, stems, fruits, and seeds. Below are a few examples that should brighten your day!
 

A stunning display of Bloodtwig Dogwoods
 

Crabapple fruit against a backdrop of fallen Ginkgo leaves
 

Hydrangea seed heads add visual interest to the winter landscape.
 

The bark of this River Birch appears to glow in the sun.
 

Although ornamental grasses die back in winter, leaving their flower stems and foliage in place until spring adds color and texture to winter landscapes.
 

Brightly-colored Weeping Willow branches enhance a snowy park scene.
 
Photos by Alice Webb

A Sustainable Campus Quad

During a recent trip to Salem, Massachusetts, I visited a well-designed quadrangle within a new residence hall complex at Salem State University. A linear bioswale runs along one side of a large lawn area, collecting runoff from the complex, and cleaning this water before it enters a tidal marsh adjacent to the development. Stepped stone-filled gabions line the walkway along the swale, and are intermittently capped with wooden bench seating. Wooden ramps bridge the swale from the walkway, providing access to the lawn area. I think the juxtaposition of the linear architectural elements and the free-form planting design of the swale work well. Even in winter (unusually without snow on this visit), the grasses and other plantings provide visual interest.
 

Bioswale with adjacent gabions
 

Wooden bench seating caps portions of the gabions. A green roof sits atop the single-story dining hall (in background).
 

A row of ornamental grasses visually reinforces yet softens the line of this concrete wall, and attractive pavers complement the building colors.
 

Plantings along this building remain colorful in winter.

Photos by Alice Webb