Garden Photo of the Day

Winter Interest in New England

Bark, branches, and leaves to keep the garden beautiful

Today’s photos come from Barbara Cain.

Hello and happy spring! I’d like to share some photos of the plants I have incorporated into my garden for winter interest. Normally the New England winter is long and dull, so I have added plants that have interesting bark or leaves and that are showy this time of year.

Japanese stewartiaJapanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia, Zones 5–8) has a lot going for it—showy white flowers in the summer and red fall color, but the intricately patterned and colored bark lasts throughout the year and may be the most beautiful feature of this small tree.

Paperbark maplePaperbark maple (Acer griseum, Zones 4–8) has warm brown bark that peels away in delicate sheets.

lacebark pinePines and other conifers bring winter interest as evergreens, of course, but the lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana, Zones 5–8) also boasts colorful, patterned bark.

Dawn redwoodDawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Zones 4–8) is an unusual conifer that is actually deciduous. The species was first described from the fossil record, and 150 million years ago it was common across the northern hemisphere, but it was thought to be extinct until a small population was discovered in central China. Now it is widely grown in gardens, where we can enjoy its textured bark and unusually shaped trunks.

Sasa veitchiiWinter interest doesn’t just come trees. Sasa veitchii (Zones 6–9) is a bamboo with broad green leaves that develop distinctive light tan margins during the winter. Like most bamboos, though, this plant can spread aggressively, so plant with care.

‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazelWitch hazels are always one of the first plants to begin blooming in late winter and early spring. This is the variety ‘Arnold Promise’ (Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’, Zones 5–8), which has profuse, fragrant, yellow blossoms.

Cornelian cherry dogwoodCornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas, Zones 4–8) has clusters of tiny, bright yellow blooms early in the spring. The flowers will be followed by edible red fruits later in the year.

Weeping katsuraWeeping katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Pendula’, Zones 4–8) is always a beautiful tree, but with the leaves gone during the winter, you can enjoy the intricate pattern created by the weeping limbs.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    user-7007816 03/23/2020

    You have an amazing collection of unusual and beautiful plants. Great work.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/23/2020

    Loved your photos...esp. of the various tree barks...all are so fascinating and worthy of having their very own centerstage close up. The foliage of Sasa veitchii is truly striking and I'm curious about how tall it gets, etc.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/23/2020

    Love all the trees but especially the katsura.

  4. sagebird52 03/23/2020

    Very interesting - trees add so much in so many ways and seasons . Thanks.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 03/23/2020

    I spotted the unique leaves of Sasa veitchii right away! I grow Sasa Palmata, just fine in zone 6b in Pittsburgh. I could not ge the vietchii to survive for some reason.
    Your photos capture garden interest in winter...a time to see the garden a different way than a gardener sees it in spring or summer...thanks for sharing.

  6. cheryl_c 03/23/2020

    Barbara, your photos could make a lovely atlas of plants with winter interest! What a fabulous variety you have, several of which I only know from photos. Thanks for sharing!

  7. SteveA 03/23/2020

    Barbara, I have always wanted to plant Pinus bungeana. How long since you planted it?

  8. User avater
    bdowen 03/23/2020

    A good reminder to think beyond summer's flowers. The tree bark photos show a lot of variety.

  9. janeeliz 03/23/2020

    Beautiful photos of your awesome trees! Love them all.

  10. Maggieat11 03/23/2020

    What a lovely collection you have. Great to share them with us. I have been wanting a Lacebark Pine and a J. Stewartia for some time now...

  11. user-5117752 03/23/2020

    Wonderful reminder of how beautiful tree bark and winter looks can be. We often forget to think that far in advance when doing our plantings. I'm still learning and I've been gardening for almost 20 years now.

  12. user-7007940 03/24/2020

    Such a nice collection of trees. Beautiful

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