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...