Winter is quickly approaching and we here at EDEN Garden Design & Landscaping have been busy tidying up many of our South Jersey properties.

After the leaf cleanups are complete,the weeds pulled and fresh mulch spread, our planting beds are now ready for a long quiet winter. This doesn't mean they have to be boring though. A well designed landscape will have interest all year long.

There are several categories that will meet the winter bed's needs. There are trees that not only have wonderful color in the spring and summer, but whose bark can be just as showy on its own. Lagerstroemia which can have beautiful lavender, red, pink or white flowers in the summer depending on the variety, will have a smooth reddish brown swirled bark to show off in winter. Betula nigra is a wonderful native tree,

while it doesn't have showy flowers in the warm seasons, it does have some amazing cinnamon colored exfoliating bark which is sure to catch anyone's eye. Keep in mind that it's an excellent source of food for wildlife and supports several hundred species of butterflies and moths.

A few types of shrubs can help fill in the areas of a winter bed with color and texture. Although not a native plant to the US., Nandina domestica will be sure to add some color and texture to your beds. This is an evergreen plants whose winter leaves can be anywhere from a dark green to orange to red to maroon depending on the amount of sunlight it receives. To top it off, it will flourish with bunches of reddish berries lasting throughout the season. Look even closer, and you will notice the bamboo like bark with some interesting colors. Another favorite winter plant of ours is Ilex verticullata. This is a great native plant, which does lose its leaves but can be covered with bright red or orange berries, again depending on variety. Now being a native plant, the berries may not make it though the entire winter as they provide a nice food source for our local birds that don't migrate.

Many people don't think of flowers in the winter time. There are a few species of flowering plants and ground covers to fill the void until spring rolls around. I'm sure everyone has seen Pansies this time of year, but for this article, I'm sticking with perennials. One of the most common ground covers is Liriope. Here at EDEN Garden Design & Landscaping, we generally use the variegated varieties in our landscape designs. Two reasons why we do over the all green varieties, are 1) added color and 2) it doesn't seem to spread as much. It stays in a nice clumping form. All varieties though will stick around for winter and provide stems with dark blue black berries. Hellebore's are an interesting plant. The leaves themselves provide some rich texture with their dark green, "heavy" looking saw toothed edged leaves. They flower in late winter and their characteristics will not be confused with any other flower.

There are many, many more plants that can be used for winter interest, these are just a few. Have fun and explore what the plant world has to offer! If you like the idea of having landscape interest all year around but don't have the time to do it, give EDEN Garden Design & Landscaping a call and we will put together a free landscape design for you and install it. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy.