Winter greens will brighten your outlook

The arrival of winter weather doesn’t have to mean the total loss of color around the outside of the house. It’s easy to keep some greenery outside your door and within sight of your windows by keeping some living evergreens and cut branches in containers. Here are a few ideas:

  • If you have evergreens in containers, place them on the patio, deck, or walk in groups for added protection from winter winds and freezing temperatures. Placing mulch on top of the soil in pots will also add some protection.
  • Depending on how far north you are, you may still find some leftover evergreens at the garden center. These can be placed in containers over the winter, then planted in garden beds in the spring. Just make sure you use containers that can be left outdoors in freezing temperatures, and give the shrub’s rootball plenty of room. Fill the pot with premium potting soil and cover the soil with mulch.
  • Get some evergreen branches from the nursery or cut some from your yard (just make sure you don’t remove the branches that will adversely alter the shape of a tree or shrub). Stick the branches in pots, planters, or windowboxes to make a greenery arrangement and break up the bleakness of the winter view. You may have to replace them occasionally as they dry out, but it’s worth the effort.
  • Both broad-leaved evergreens (such as boxwood or holly) and narrow-leaved/coniferous evergreens (spruce, pine, juniper, etc.) can be used. Holly branches bearing red berries are especially attractive in winter. For variety in shape and color, add cuttings from ornamental grasses, liatris, or other plants with interesting forms and hues.
  • For a really lively winter scene, add a birdfeeder to attract goldfinches, cardinals and evening grosbeaks!