Winter Interest in Helen’s Haven, plus the JCRA Winter Garden Tour and Lecture

We are so fortunate to be able to garden year-round.  I’m not just talking about being able to go outside and see green; I’m talking, flowers, fragrance, colors, and textures.

A great place to see what does well in the winter of zone 7 gardens and beyond is at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC.

Each year, the JCRA holds a Winter Garden Lecture and Tour.  Here is that info below; hope to see you there!

JC Raulston Arboretum

Winter Garden Lecture and Tour

A Walk in the Winter Garden, February 15, 2009 (Sunday)

Friends of the Arboretum Lecture – 1:00 PM

“Beyond Dwarf Alberta: Conifers for Every Garden”

Mark Weathington, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections

Tours – 2:00 PM, 2:30 PM, and 3:00 PM


For more information contact Chris Glenn (919) 513-7005

Helen’s Haven

Scroll down a little further and find a list of winter interest plantings found in Helen’s Haven.  I have a 4-season garden.  Much of what I learned about gardening in the winter came from my experiences with the JCRA.  As I journeyed through this garden, I took notes.  Now, years later, I have a winning winter garden, if I do say so myself.


Helen’s Haven Winter Interest Plants

Fragrance, Flowers and Color

· Paper bush, Edgeworthia ‘Gold Rush’

· Daphne, Daphne odora ‘Variegata’

· Japanese flowering apricot, Prunus mume


· Hardy Cyclamens, Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen coum

· Early Snowdrops Galanthus woronowii

· Camellia Sasanqua flowering first then giving over to Camellia Japonica

· Forsythia first part of March

· Crocus – the Tommies comming up in the lawn

· Winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis

· Contorted Crab Apple, Malus ‘Red Jade’

· Yellow white pine, Pinus strobes ‘Hillside Winter Gold’

· Red twig dogwood

Yellow twig dogwood

· Nandinas(domestica and threadleaf)


· Hellebores (niger and orientalis).

· Weeping Willow with red stems, Scarlet Curls Salix matsudana ‘Scarlet Curls’

· Giant Yellow Jonquils for naturalizing (Daffodils) March 1st and even earlier in some years. February’s Gold

· Coral Bark Maple, Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’

· Winterberry holly, Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red”

Weeping Yupon Holly

· Flowering Quince, Chaenomeles speciosa

· Loropetalum Chinense ‘Pink Form’

· Blue Atlas Cedar, Cedrus atlantica ‘Pendula’

· Abelia grandiflora ‘Little Richard’ with nice red stems

· Variegated Juniper, Juniperus squamata expansa ‘Parsonii Variegata’

· Ajuga ‘Burgundy Glow’

· For color anytime GARDEN ACCENTS: Joel Haas Butterfly, gazing balls, Amelia Lane and Beth Jimenez’s red Hosta Leaf, bunnies, cats, hummingbirds, and Phil Hathcock’s Natural stone sculptures and much more.

Interesting Textures and Form

· Fig ‘Brown Turkey’

· Harry Lauder Walking stick

· herbs, esp. the Rosemary (upright and weeping),

· Santolina

· Thymes

· Parsley

· Mahonia

· Southern Magnolia. Don’t underestimate the charms of the Magnolia grandiflora. It shines in every season, but I really value it in the winter landscape.

· Cast-iron Plant, Aspidistra elatior – Nice for the evergreen color.

· Clematis Armandii – I like the leaf in any season with sensational fragrant flowers in the spring, but love the green leaves in the winter.

· Pieris japonica

· Chinese Windmill Palm, Trachycarpus fortunei. Wonderful to see covered in snow!

· Dwarf Mondo grass, Ophiopogon japonicus planted between my pavers

· Sky Pencil Holly, Ilex crenata

· Gardenia – great evergreen shrub – not used nearly enough. I think it is taken for granted and needs to be seen with new eyes.

· Oak (Georgia I think) it has a classic Oak leaf shape and keeps it leaves through the winter making a wonderful noise in the breeze.

· Bark of the Crape Myrtle, Lagerstroemia ‘Natchez’


· Espalier Fuji apple against the house

· Climbing Hydrangea, Hydrangea anomala petiolaris against the house

· Ferns – Autumn, Dryopteris erythrosora; Holly, Polystichum falcatum; Christmas, Polystichum acrostichoides

· Fatsia japonica tropical looking evergreen shrub in a shady protected area

· Big leaf magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla – nice to see the interesting trunk in the winter

· Weeping Winged Elm, Ulmus atala with ‘wings’ on the branches very interesting bark texture for the winter garden

· Smilax is evergreen and has berries for the birds

· Japanese umbrella pine, Sciadopitys verticillata


· Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia

· Various Sedums

· Japanese maples, Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’

· Hindu-Pan Scotch Pine and Hillside Creeper Scotch Pine (Pinus sylevstris)

· Black Dragon Cryptomeria, Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon’

· Weeping Cypress, Taxodium distichum ‘Cascade Falls’

· Weeping Cherry, Prunus x ‘Snow ‘Pendula’

· Hinoki Cypress, Chamaecyparis obtuse

· Grasses – I have a very nice dwarf Pampas grass I got from the JCRA Gala held the first Sunday of May and Muhly Grass, Muhlenbergia caillaris ‘Regal Mist’

· Chocolate vine, Akebia I have mine growing in the shade, so it is very tame.

· Arum

· Aucuba japonica nice red berries and variegated leaves

· Barberry ‘Pigmy’

· Periwinkle, ’Vinca minor’

· Jasmine, confederate, star; Carolina Jessamine

· Johnny-jump-ups

· Tea Olive, Osmanthus fragrans

· Evergreen Hosta or Sacred Lily, Rhodea japonica

· Creeping raspberry, Rubus pedalobus

· Yew

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