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Posted by on Nov 10, 2011 | 2 comments

Gardening Tips for Winter Color and Spring Blossoms

Gardening Tips for Winter Color and Spring Blossoms

Last month I sat down with Eileen Powell, a local gardening guru, and learned all about interesting and unique plants for early fall. Now that it’s getting colder and closer to winter, I wanted to get some more seasonal tips from Eileen. Here’s what I learned:

What to Plant

Bulbs — Tis’ the season for planting spring bulbs. You have to be careful though, squirrels love the taste of crocus and tulip bulbs, so watch out for your investment. Keep squirrels away by spraying bulbs with Ropel animal repellant before planting.

When choosing bulbs, think about the color of the flowers and what will bloom alongside them. Purple usually goes with everything in the garden.

Tulips Bulbs - Study 2

Pansies — With the temps steadily below 70 these days, pansies are ready to go into the ground.


Shrubs, Trees and Perennials — You can still plant these now, but make sure to mulch well to protect the roots and keep plants warm.

Swiss Chard — For your vegetable garden, this will last a good part of the winter.

To Mulch or Not to Mulch?

Except for around new plants, hold off on general mulching until all the leaves have fallen down. When you mulch, two inches is the recommended amount. Three inches is too much.

Preparing Spring Beds

Now is the time to dig your new beds for spring. Make sure to add manure, compost, or soil conditioner. If your soil has a lot of clay, add greensand to help break it down.


Cut back summer perennials to the ground. If you have marginally hardy plants such as dahlias and salvia, leave about a foot for added insulation.

Plants for Winter Color

For color throughout the colder months, consider these plants:

Daphne — a winter-blooming evergreen with scented flowers in February and March.

Daphne odora (Winter Daphne) - cultivated

Skimmia — a low evergreen shrub that produces lovely red berries all winter.


Hellebore — an evergreen perennial that blooms in January and early spring.


Coral bell — a perennial with very colorful foliage, look out for evergreen varieties.

coral bell for Rachel.JPG

And if you don’t have space to plant, consider pots by your front door. Mix small evergreen shrubs like boxwood, ‘Sky Pencil’ holly, or dwarf Alberta spruce with evergreen perennials that have sharply contrasting colors or texture. These include grassy acorus or black mondo grass; lime green, plum, red or peach coral bells; blue or purple euphorbia; or ornamental cabbages and kale. Fill in any spaces with bright pansies or dainty violas. And don’t forget to water your pots regularly throughout the winter.

Happy winter gardening!

Posted by Katie


  1. Hi Katie. My wife and I just closed on a home in Del Ray yesterday (!) and are moving from DC. This will be our first time with outdoor space to take care of. Can you provide Eileen’s contact information? We’d love to speak with her about her services!

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