Your garden can be anything but barren over the winter months. This past Tuesday, Hall County Master Gardeners presented a program titled Winter Interest in the Garden. Mildred Fockele, vice-president of horticulture at the Atlanta Botanical Garden Gainesville branch, put together the program, and master gardener Chris Michael emceed the presentation. The program introduces gardeners to a plethora of plants that can add winter delight to any homeowner’s garden.
There were a lot of plants presented, and avid master gardeners lapped up the info, but time constraints limited the amount of information that could be shared about individual plants. So over the next month or so I thought I’d take Ms. Fockele’s presentation a step further. Starting today, I’ll showcase one plant that was included in the presentation. Each day following I’ll share another with you, until we’ve worked our way through the list.
These are exemplary plants that can be found in nurseries throughout the region. So if you’ve ever wanted to enhance the bleak winter days, these plants are, as Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday said in the movie Tombstone, your huckleberries.
For ease of introduction, the plants you’ll be meeting have been divided into one of several categories, which are listed below:
- Bark and Berries
- Evergreen Foliage
- Foliage and Flowers
- Container Suitability
With that said, ta da! I’d like you to meet
Coral Bark Japanese Maple – Acer palmatum ‘Bihou’
Few plants brighten up a winter garden like the Coral Bark Japanese Maple. This small deciduous tree shows off its yellow bark flushed with just a hing of orange to perfection. In the spring, the tree sports new chartreuse leaves edged with. The leaves turn a more medium green as the season progresses.
Great Small Tree for Winter Interest
In fall, the leaves turn a buttery yellow with hints of orange. When winter rears its ugly head, this tree shines-literally. Its orange-yellow bark seems to glow. Then, as an extra attraction, the tree sets red buds that contrast favorably with the yellow bark.
Coral Bark Japanese Maple grows is a vase shaped, relatively fast growing (for Japanese Maples, at about 6″ per year) tree that reaches around 12 feet high with an 8 to 10 foot width. It’s suitable for use in zones 6 (marginally), and 7 through 9, and grows well in early morning sun or part shade. Plant in a well drained soil in front of a contrasting background such as a row of evergreens, or a dark-sided house. Or combine with trees with contrasting bark like that of the Red Twig Dogwood for even greater winter interest.
Avoid over use of nitrogen as ‘Bihou’ may be susceptible to Pseudomonas stem blight if fertilized late in the season.
All in all, Coral Bark Japanese Maple can be a wonderful addition to brighten up your winter garden.
Tomorrow: meet Japanese Stewarita