February is the time of year when we gaze upon our winter landscapes from the warmth of cozy abodes and pine for something interesting and colorful to look at.  Enter winter annuals!

These striking ornamental plants are popular in our area because they stand up to freezing temps well and don’t die off like other colorful annuals.

We receive a lot of requests for ideas on how to effectively replace summer annuals in a winter garden bed, and how to create more ‘interest’ in the winter landscape in general.

Outdoor Craftsmen’s designs are drawn with all four seasons in mind.  Our go-to plant materials for an inspiring winter landscape include:

Cabbage and kale (as seen in main image) - perfect for infilling where summer annuals used to be in a garden bed, these hardy beauties add wonderful texture and color along walkways and paths, and in pots and containers. Once hardened by cold night temperatures, they can survive most winters.

Winter Jasmine – drought-tolerant with tiny yellow flowers in spring.  Blooms as early as February! We like its glossy green leaves which grow thick and lush.







Holly – a favorite for their festive red or gold berries and shiny, ever green leaves with serrated-looking edges






Winterberry Holly – bright red berries offer a feeling of warmth, and that attention-grabbing quality is what attracts songbirds to them. It is deciduous, which isn’t a detractor at all.  The display of the red berries is enhanced by the loss of leaves in the fall. These plants do well in areas of the landscape plagued by wetness.





Native Serviceberry – after the leaves fall off this tree and the snow flies, you’re in for a treat. Snow covered branches on this are stunning to look due to their slightly crooked shapes. The tree receives rave reviews for its white blossoms in spring and shades of red and orange in fall.





Twig Dogwood – with two colors to choose from (red or yellow), the striking upright stems of this hardy shrub are a real standout in the winter landscape, whether snow is on the ground or not. You can’t miss their brilliant color on softly curved but mostly upright stems whether up close or from afar.




Early blooming bulbs and plants – Snowdrops and crocus are some of the first to bloom in late winter, brightening our yards and spirits (spring is almost here!) with their sweet little blooms sprinkled about.  Lenten Roses (shown in picture on left) offer leathery evergreen leaves and have rose-like flowers in shades or red, burgundy, chartreuse, and white.