Have you ever looked out over your winter landscape and had a real case of the “blahs”? Everything is just a little too monochromatic, a little too lifeless. As the days go by (especially those long, post-holiday ones!) you become more and more eager for spring, lamenting every flake of snow and crystal of ice.
What if we told you that your “blah” feeling can be a thing of the past? That your winter landscape can delight you as much as any other season, with texture and depth and beauty, and especially color? And no, we’re not suggesting you plant rows of evergreens. As much as we love them, there are so many other ways to brighten up a winter landscape. Curious?
Our Spotlight series is designed to show you how to bring four-season beauty and interest to your landscape. In this post, we’re going to share one of the most charming winter additions to your landscape: the Red (or Yellow) Twig Dogwood. It’s a truly visually stunning way to add winter color, in addition to looking great all year long.
Red And Yellow Twig Dogwood Through The Seasons
It sounds like a tree but it’s actually a shrub, and it’s true – this beauty is distinctively thrilling throughout each season, with something different to delight you in each one. It blooms in spring with clusters of tiny, fragrant white flowers. Green berries mature to white from spring through fall. Softly green leaves become a deeper, lusher green as summer passes, then turn yellow as fall approaches.
But winter is when this shrub really pulls out all the stops and shows its true beauty. As its leaves drop, its branches begin to deepen into a rich red (or yellow, depending on the variety) and you’ll be treated to a spectacular show of ornamental twigs that shoot up like brightly colored fireworks into an otherwise gray winter sky.
This fiery flare of color also brings rich textures and depth, creating a captivating visual. In fact, the colder the temperature, the brighter the younger branches will get! Pair a red twig with something contrasting like Golden Sedge, which maintains its yellow blades all winter, and we promise you won’t miss your peonies.
Care & Maintenance
When not pruned, these shrubs can grow up to 8 feet tall. But for best results, you’ll want to prune them during their dormant months because new, fresh stems have the brightest red and yellow colors.
Plant in full sun for best color, but these shrubs are also hardy enough to tolerate some shade. They’re tolerant of wet and even downright boggy conditions and are quite easy to maintain. They are also adaptable to different soil qualities, even that clay-like stuff that makes you want to pull your hair out!
With consistent watering, correct pruning and a bit of fertilizer once a year, you’ll be rewarded with brilliant color all winter long.
Why We Love It
As if the incredible colors weren’t enough, there are even more reasons to love this beauty. Birds and butterflies also love these shrubs, so you’ll be able to enjoy their unique and lively charm during warm months.
Red Twig Dogwood is also one of the most popular plants used in outdoor holiday décor. Its bright crimson stems not only look fantastic in contrast to a snowy winterscape, but they make great clippings in container gardens, paired with other winter treasures like red Winterberry, or tied in clusters with glittering ribbons.
This shrub is perfect as a border plant, where it will double as a privacy screen. It’s also perfect to prevent soil erosion and works well even on sloped land.
Plant them in clusters for extra drama, even pairing red with yellow for a really eye-popping effect. Or plant a single one in view of a window so whenever you gaze outside you’ll be treated to bright winter color instead of sleepy grays.
These shrubs are so versatile and lovely that it’s hard to imagine a landscape without one.
And there are plenty more where this came from! Today we wanted to tease your imagination to help you see past the winter whites to something far more spectacular. In future posts, we’ll share more seasonal beauties so that you can enjoy your landscape all year long.
Curious about how this – or any other – planting can work in your space? Contact us for a consultation and we’ll work with you to design a four-season landscape of beauty just for you.