As for using the word “winter,” I’m a bit contradictory. I often describe this time of year in gardening terms as the “cool season.”
The word winter has a specific meaning that does not apply to the weather in December, January, and February.
When you close your eyes and think of winter, do you imagine cold, snowy landscapes with people in their coats? But after almost a week of 80s temperatures, Christmas highs are often in his 70s or 60s.
And that’s the problem. Our gardens and landscapes do not experience extreme cold throughout the winter months. This pretty much sums up our winter weather and allows us to keep our landscapes very vibrant.
Indeed, the cool season is not the time for rest and dormancy, but the time for vigorous gardening. We continue to plant hardy trees, shrubs, vines, groundcovers, cool season flowers and vegetables throughout December, January and February.
Our gardens certainly look different this time of year. Most of our shade trees have lost their leaves and are bare. The lawn has become dormant and has lost its lush color. Tropical plants miss the warmth of summer and often suffer from frost damage.
Overall, our landscapes seem less lush than in summer. But they are not bare and lifeless.
For one thing, the extensive use of broadleaf evergreen shrubs and ground cover keeps the landscape from being too bare. But it’s not just about using evergreen plants.
Some broadleaf evergreens are not satisfied with just maintaining their foliage in the cooler months. Consider sasanqua (Camellia sasanqua) and camellia (Camellia japonica).
The sasanqua blooms from October to January. Camellia brightens our landscape with its large, showy flowers from his December to her March.
Varieties such as Angkor Azalea and Robin Hill Azalea bloom from autumn to winter, adding color. Roses are still blooming.
Other winter flowers may not be as showy, but sweet olive (Osmanthus), leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bearley) and winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) are alluring scents for mild days in the cool season. entertains us with
There are also most plants that grow here in the cool season. Native to Louisiana, irises grow from October through April.
Other winter-growing herbaceous perennials include the calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica), the red spider lily (Lycoris radiata), the Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum), and the acanthus (Acanthus mollis). These plants provide lush green foliage and great texture to beds and, in the case of Louisiana iris and calla, water a winter landscape garden.
The spring-flowering bulbs all grow here through the winter, providing spiky, upright green foliage.
I am often asked about foliage protection in cold weather for spring bulbs. Take it easy. The leaves of bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, daffodils, snowflakes and Dutch iris are very hardy. Opened flowers are more susceptible to frost damage. If temperatures threaten he hits the mid-20s, harvest open flowers and enjoy in indoor vases.
Speaking of plants that grow vigorously in winter, we plant and continue to grow a wide variety of cold climate vegetables and herbs.
Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, turnips, mustard greens, lettuce, green onions, and some of the most delicious and nutritious cool-season vegetables can only be grown in Louisiana.
You can also harvest many herbs such as parsley, dill, coriander, thyme, oregano and chives.
Keep your vegetable and herb garden productive during the winter by planting hardy herbs and vegetables.
Of course, one of the things that makes a winter landscape come to life is the use of cool-season bedding plants such as pansies, violas, dianthus, alyssum, petunias, snapdragons, columbine, and foxgloves. It is an indispensable plant that brightly colors winter flower gardens.
Cool-season bedding plants are best seen in the spring (late February, March, and April), but the warm winter months are also filled with abundant blooms that add beauty to the landscape.
Even cool-season bedding plants that can wait until spring to flower, such as columbine, foxgloves, and hollyhocks, provide attractive foliage for your garden before they flower. , you can continue to plant cool-season bedding plants until February or early March.
As such, our landscape remains very active during the ‘dormant’ winter months. The evergreens we use retain their foliage in abundance, and many plants grow and bloom, producing fresh food on your table all winter long.
In the spring, as our gardens begin to grow in earnest and deciduous trees and shrubs pick up new growth, we see more plants joining the party that has already begun.
Spring is like the climax of growth and color that occurs in our gardens throughout the cool season. is not so surprising.
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We’ve just experienced a bit of freezing in southeastern Louisiana, so it’s time to talk about tropical winter protection in our landscape.