We are all looking forward to getting back in the garden. At this time of year, I look for color and interest in my landscape. We haven’t had a lot of snow, but a fair amount of ice, many gray days, and lots of wind. I thought I would share two garden standouts that have brought life to my garden during these cold, gray days.
The first is Red Jewel crabapple (Malus x ‘Red Jewel’). The name says it all. Although not a native, it’s a small tree that fits perfectly in front of our house. Last spring I found a beautiful specimen full of white blossoms that turned into round red berries in the fall. The berries have persisted and even now adorn the tree. It’s also a favorite for robins, who have been feasting on the berries.
The second is winterberry (Ilex verticillata). The white flowers of this native shrub are not very showy, so the appearance of beautiful berries is a surprise – it was full of berries starting this fall and on through the winter. I have found that they prefer partial shade here in this part of Iowa, so mine are planted on the east side of my house. Keep in mind that whether you have one or five female plants, you will need one male to pollinate for female berry production. Just recently the birds had finally finished eating these berries.
Keep an eye out for highlights in your garden that keep the gardener in you happy during this dormant season – and let me know what jewels you find.