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Yuletide Camellia bring beautiful color in December/January.

Yuletide Camellias bring beautiful color in December/January.

I like to design gardens that will have color year round.  While some plants are dormant or deciduous (resting and protecting themselves) in winter others come into their own.  As fall fades into winter nature can reveal a quiet beauty in the garden. I chose plants with colorful barks, evergreen foliage, bright berries and subtle blooms to add interest to a garden in winter. And I love to include pockets for annuals like Pansies in all their various colors that later become companions to spring flowering bulbs.  And dianthus or “pinks” a practical choice for winter color, even though they bloom only in the warmer spells.  Dianthus will last well into the spring and summer. Ornamental cabbage and kale are excellent color plants for containers and beds. They are colored varieties of common members of the edible cabbage family. Swiss chard also comes in red and yellow ribbed varieties, creating a cheerful ribbon effect in borders or a striking center for a container.  Camellia’s both japonica and Sansanqua do well in Houston if planted in morning sun and protected from wind.  A favorite of our is Yuletide Camellia, Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’Top of Form with their fiery red blooms centered with bright yellow stamens in contrast against glossy, dark green.  Berry producing plants are another aspect to be considered for winter color. American beauty berry’s beautiful purple fruits don’t last as long but are a lovely pop of color in December. Dwarf Burford Holly Ilex cornuta ‘Dwarf Burford’ a compact grower and prolific bearer of large, bright red berries without a pollinizer present.  Perfect as an evergreen hedge, Asian-inspired gardens, woodland setting, or source of unique texture in formal settings. Two medium-sized shrubs that grow well, are attractive and add color to the landscape are Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) and Possumhaw or deciduous holly (Ilex decidua). Each produces berries which ripen in the fall and winter. The deciduous holly will lose most to all it its leaves and is usually covered in orange to red berries, which is a beautiful contrast to the grayish bark. A dwarf version of Yaupon holly is evergreen and makes a wonderful alternative to boxwoods for a small uniform hedge.