Winter may seem dreary and dull, but it allows trees and shrubs to reveal distinct features that are otherwise hidden by foliage. Brightly colored twigs, weeping branches and interesting bark texture are just a few examples of the unexpected pleasure a landscape can provide in winter months. A mix of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs will provide diversity in the landscape and different visual winter qualities.

Each season should be considered a different opportunity to add interest in the garden. There are a variety of trees and shrubs hardy to the Chicago area offering seasonally changing characteristics. One example is the Japanese maple tree, which is a smaller deciduous tree. Many Japanese maple tree varieties offer red leaves and a delicate shape when leafed out, but winter characteristics include bright red stems and twisted, sprawling branches. Holly bushes are an evergreen shrub, typically with wide, glossy leaves. In addition to the beautiful leaves, Holly bushes burst with berries in late autumn, offering bright winter color. Because there are so many choices, carefully consider what is desired in the landscape. Click here for more information on planning for winter interest. Use this as a guide to create a year-round garden that satisfies all the senses.

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