Plants for Winter Interest

Plants for Winter Interest
Certain garden plants are a source of winter interest in the garden. Examples include ones with exfoliating bark, attractive branching patterns, evergreen foliage, fruits, or other distinctive feature.

Corkscrew Willow

Corkscrew willow is a cultivar of the Hankow willow. It is also called dragon claw willow. This cultivar is a popular garden plant, while the species is rarely grown.

The fast growing, upright large shrub or small tree plant can be up to 30 feet in height with a 20 foot spread. For best results, avoid planting willows near sewer and water lines.

The plant is named for the incredibly contorted branches that spiral upwards. The stems are used in floral designs. The vivid green leaves and the twigs are also twisted. The foliage turns yellow in the fall.

The plant prefers a moist soil. However, it is tolerant of a slightly drier soil than most other willows. During the winter the plant’s contorted nature is prominently displayed. This is best trained as a shrub.

Corkscrew willow is hardy to zone 4. As a shrub, it can be pruned and kept to about 8 or 10 feet in height The vigorous plant has a slow growth rate.

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick

Harry Lauder’s walking stick is named for the immensely twisted curled stems and branches, which are spectacular during the winter when these are in clear view after the leaves have fallen. The plant is also called contorted hazelnut.

It is typically used as an accent or specimen plant. It is a cultivar of the European hazel or filbert. The plant is hardy to zone 4.

The species bears an edible nut. This is a very popular shrub, and adapts to poor, dry soils.

This deciduous, rounded shrub can reach 6 feet or so in height with a slightly larger spread. The stems are cut and used in floral designs.

The lovely branches and stems are most visible once the leaves fall until spring. The plant is also a source of yellow fall color.

The male catkins emerge later than those of the species plant. Harry Lauder’s walking stick can be grown in large planters.

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