Helping Your Garden Recover From Winter


This Winter was a doozy!  Here are a few tips to help you bring your garden back to its vibrant best.


Tip 1:

The good news is that lots of snow isn’t always bad.  Snow actually insulates the roots of plants.  When it doesn’t snow and just gets cold, roots are not protected and they run the risk of freezing which will often kill off the plants.

Tip 2:

helping your garden recover from winterCut off the dead leaves and twigs and aerate the soil around the roots.  Water as usual and wait a while.  Those ‘dead’ plants may well surprise you with new shoots as the weather warms.



Tip 3:

helping your garden recover from winterCheck for split or broken branches, road salt damage or other damage that could hinder the plant’s recovery.  Trim off these damaged areas. In the case of split or broken branches, make a clean cut above the break so that the branch can heal. Make sure to hire a professional arborist to remove larger branches as these can be very unstable and dangerous.  If in doubt, take a photo and ask your local garden center’s advice.

Tip 4:

helping your garden recover from winterA quick way to tell if a plant has actually died or if life still lingers is to check to see if the stems are completely dry and brown inside or if there appears to be a hint of green or white inside which indicates that there’s still sap flowing.



Tip 5;

If the stems or branches appear dead, sometimes the plant will shoot again from the roots, so be patient and wait a while before ripping it out of the ground.

Tip 6:

helping your garden recover from winterTake care when trimming evergreens with foliage damage.  Don’t prune the foliage any more than normal as you might end up with bare patches.  Instead wait a while as new foliage will likely make an appearance soon.



Tip 7:

As the weather warms, prune, water and fertilize.  Ask your local garden center about the correct fertilizer and amount of water for your specific plant.

Tip 8:

helping your garden recover from winterIf you notice that your shrubs such as hydrangeas are not blooming after this hard winter, don’t worry too much.  They will probably begin blooming again the next season.



Tip 9:

For shrubs and plants that were flattened under the snow, give them time to rejuvenate unless they are actually broken or the roots pulled out.

Tip 10:

Make a note to mulch around your plants, shrubs and trees before next winter sets in.  This is the best way to avoid damage to the roots.

Planning Ahead for Color in Winter and Spring


Many people think of November as ‘dead’ time in the garden, but that’s not necessarily true.

There are plenty of things still to do on the milder West Coast, including planning for Winter and Spring color and interest.  It’s the time of year when you’ll need to be planting those Spring bulbs and wildflower seeds so that you can enjoy  flowers early next year.

winter garden choresIt’s also the time to get the garden cleaned up so that you can see where it really needs color and interest during the cold Winter months.

As we mentioned in our Ornamental Grass series, there are plenty of beautiful colder weather grasses that add interest, movement and texture.  These are staples in the garden, and while, on their own, they might look quite unobtrusive, planted in the right spots, they more than hold their own with more exotic choices.  They’re great for ‘fillers’ and they create a lovely foil for other plants both summer and winter.

It’s the perfect time to plant a pretty Fall / Winter Container.

fall color pansiesSome of the plants you could consider right now are the cooler weather annuals such as Winter Pansies, Violas, and Ornamental Cabbage.  Don’t forget that there are varieties of Ornamental Grasses that do very well in containers as well.

winter-containerIf you’re feeling festive, you could also create a container with a more seasonal decorative flair.  Cut evergreen branches and team them with interesting bare twigs, berries, cones, dried flowers and anything else you fancy.  Arranging these in an urn or other outdoors container at your front door will liven up your entrance and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

If you would like a little help in creating a lovely, colorful look in your garden this season, please feel free to come into Tanglebank and chat with our professional horticulturalists.

Brenda’s Favorite Winter Interest Plants.

winter interest plants

Winter gardens definitely do not need to be boring if you include winter interest plants.


Here’s a list of my favorite winter interest plants to help you get started with turning up the heat in a cold winter landscape:


winter interest plantsBergenia
Snow Queen.  White flowers. Pure white flowers in spring. Deep glossy green foliage all winter
Rosi Klose.   Pink flowers in early spring. “””Ditto foliage
Bressingham Ruby.    Deep pink flowers in early spring.  Deep green glossy leaves turn rich red  in winter




Heuchera ‘Zipper’
Heuchera ‘Forever purple’
Heuchera  ‘Lime Marmalade’
Heuchera   ‘Sugar  Frosting’


heucherella-brass-lanternsHeucherella ‘Brass Lanterns’





Euonymus japonica Paloma BlancaEuonymus japonica Paloma Blanca.   An upright growing shrub with glossy green small leaves.  New growth in spring is pure white.  Great in containers or as a hedging shrub or specimen plant

Euonymus japonicus  ‘Aureo Marginata’. With mid sized bright green and golden yellow variegated leaves




Gaultheria procumbensGaultheria procumbens.  Or Wintergreen.  A low growing acid soil loving ground cover for shade to part shade with evergreen leaves white flowers in summer followed by bright red berries that when crushed release a beautiful wintergreen scent.



Skimmia RubellaSkimmia Rubella.  A great small shrub suited to shady sites or container gardens.  This plant produces beautiful clusters of deep red buds in September that remain thru March and then open to creamy pink  blooms that are extremely fragrant.


polar_gold_arborvitaeAssorted conifers






winter-heatherWinter Heather
Mary Helen.   Golden foliage produces bright pink flowers in winter
Kramers Red.   The all time favorite with deep green foliage and the darkest  of the pink flowers in winter


ChamacyparisChamacyparis obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’.  Aka dwarf golden hinoki cypress.  With its twisty turny form and brilliant golden and green foliage this plant is a star in the winter garden.   PAir it with  the sharp lance like foliage of Yucca ‘Garland Gold’ for brilliant effect.


Chamacyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwood Gold'Chamacyparis lawsoniana  ‘Ellwood Gold’. This columnar shaped conifer has beautiful blue foliage with gold shimmer.  Absolutely gorgeous in a container or in the sunny border.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Konfetti’.  This cedar shrub has deep green foliage with white gold markings.  Very unique and it sparkles in the winter garden.



Taxis baccatta fastigiata 'Aurea, Golden Irish YewTaxis baccatta fastigiata ‘Aurea,   Golden Irish Yew.  Beautiful variegated foliage with red berries in fall winter.  A personal favorite
This extremely long lived conifer does well in full sun or shade gardens and  adds dramatic height in a container garden and acts as a sentinel in the border




Low growing juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode'Low growing juniperus horizontalis ‘Mother Lode’ is a brilliant Carpet of gold on a slope.  or draping overt he side of a container or for something a little taller but still under a foot  try ‘Lime Glow’ with it s bright gold green carpet of foliage.


All of these plants have been chosen because they are perfect for our wet, cool B.C. winters.  If you’d like some ideas on how to incorporate them into your garden, please feel free to come in and chat with our talented horticulturalists.