Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Planning Annual Flowers for Winter Color

Metro-Atlanta winters do have icy and snowy periods, but stay relatively cool and pleasant for most of the season. Crabapple LandscapExperts use cold-tolerant annual flowers to enliven landscapes during winters that experience only a few killing frosts.
The most familiar and perhaps hardiest winter annuals are pansies and Johnny-jump-ups. These are actually two versions of the same plant, with pansies having the larger flowers but Johnny-Jump-Ups (also known as violas) being a bit hardier. A wide range of colors and bi-tones are available to fit any color scheme or reinforce and emphasize any property sign, logo or sales office. Ask your Crabapple Rep to design harmonious and distinctive flower beds for your specific property.
Parsley is sometimes used as a bright green companion plant in pansy beds, thriving under the same conditions of sun and high fertility. The frilly, rich green leaves are an inviting addition.

Dusty miller is a great choice for providing silvery white contrast in residential and commercial flower beds. With dusty miller no flowers are involved, since the color is contributed by intricately cut silver foliage that lasts for years.

Ornamental cabbage and rainbow chard are pretty examples of common vegetables that routinely survive cold winter temperatures.”Flowering” cabbage has been hybridized to produce ruffled white, pink or lavender leaves that are ornamental in themselves. Rainbow chard has bright, eye-catching petioles in yellow, orange, purple and red colors. The rough-textured leaves of ornamental kale are available in a dark burgundy or purple color to provide both background and contrast. Colorful lettuces and radicchio are becoming increasingly popular as ornamental winter edgings.

Another winter possibility is the snapdragon. While snapdragons can be knocked back by snowstorms, they re-grow during warm spells and produce spikes of showy flowers. Fall planting also ensures a big springtime show of these snaps. 

Pinks or Dianthus are low-growing mats of spiky, silvery foliage with small, frilly, button-like flowers about 6 inches tall. These are often available in head-turning hot pink or attractive blends of red, rose, pink and white.

Other hardy annuals for winter landscape color include white candytuft, blue larkspur, sweet William or pot marigolds (also known as Calendula).  Your Crabapple LandscapExperts will devise the perfect color scheme and design for flower beds on properties you manage. 

Photo Credits, thanks to Kristen Alexander,, Paul Chinn San Fran Chronicle 

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