January 14, 2014
We are lucky to be gardening in Mississippi where we are able to use a combination of plants for winter color. Combining shrubs, trees, flowers and edible plants can make the cool season exciting and beautiful. Today Southern Gardening is back visiting our friend Catherine and her beautiful landscape. Creating the background for the winter color are the foundation plantings of Japanese cleyera. The foliage is thick and leathery with bright red petioles. The new leaves emerge reddish bronze and mature to a lustrous, dark green. Catherine has planted colorful Matrix pansies in white, blue and Bulldog burgundy. Matrix pansies are some of the best choices for Mississippi landscapes because they hold their flowers high above the foliage. Peacock ornamental kale adds foliage color along with feathered leaves. The deeply serrated leaves add interesting extra texture. Blue and purple pansies are great planting companions. Bright Lights Swiss chard is a favorite of mine with stems of red, yellow, gold and white. This plant is a visual feast for the landscape. The colors are stunning when full grown. In the summer months Catherine's red lace leaf Japanese maple is gorgeous. But after the leaves have fallen in the fall I love the ghostly twisted and contorted shapes of the branches. I love creativity in the landscape and taking advantage of planting opportunities. Where the fronds have been removed from this Canary palm, Catherine has planted pansies in the resulting pockets. In the summer she plants impatiens in the natural palm shade. Just because its winter doesn't mean you have to take the season off in the garden and landscape. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.