Friday, November 13, 2009

Part II: Favorite Winter Plants (No. Idaho)

In part two of our "Favorite Winter Plants" series, we travel to the frigid region of Northern Idaho to show some of the wonderful winter plants that can add interest to these gardens in colder months.

Dan Eskelson (aka @daneskelson on Twitter) began his horticultural training in the balmy hills of Santa Barbara, California. But these days he gardens and designs landscapes from his company Clearwater Landscapes in Priest River, Idaho. This distinctly four-season climate is a frosty USDA Hardiness Zones 4 and 5. Even in this cold climate, however, there are plenty of interesting winter plants. Here are some of Dan's favorites:

"Rose hips from the native Wood's rose (Rosa woodsii) are plentiful this year in Idaho," reports Dan. "They really provide bright, cheerful color for the fall/early winter landscape."

"Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor) is another native that we encourage and incorporate in the landscape," says Dan. "The seemingly delicate cream-colored flower clusters turn eventually dark brown and persist through much of the winter."

"Oregon Grape (Mahonia repens, M. aquifolium, etc.) is quite common and often used in the landscape," he admits. "Yet, it remains one of my favorite plants for winter interest. Each year seems to bring different combinations of leaf color, including green, purple and scarlet."

"These river birch (Betula nigra 'Heritage') are closely related to the native black birch," adds Dan. "They provide a continuously evolving show of trunk transformation. Their colors range from almost white to pinks and browns."

Learn More: Clearwater Landscapes, Inc.; or on Twitter @daneskelson

More to Come! Don't go away. We're traveling to Canada next, where the winter gardens can be especially beautiful if you just know what to plant. Look for part three, coming soon...


  1. Beautiful post - I love seeing what's going on around the country. And I LOVE those rose hips! I never seem to get that many (thanks to hungry squirrels)...

  2. What a change, going from Santa Barbara to Idaho! But Dan's obviously made the transition well.

  3. Susan: Well, I know how he feels a little. I moved to Idaho from near that area too. Although my winters aren't nearly as rough as Dan's... He's the real trooper to survive those weather conditions. Teresa

  4. Rebecca: Thanks for your nice comments. Those red rose hips really do brighten a winter scene, don't they? Plus, they feed so many critters, as you know quite well from your hungry squirrels. ;) All the best, Teresa

  5. I need me some hips and that rose bush too! I'm curious Dan, did you choose the cold weather or did it choose you? Maybe that is the same thing. It seems lately, I have met so many people who prefer cold weather. H.