Flower garden and landscape

Off-season stars - plants with the most beautiful branches and bark


Late fall-early winter is a very unpresentable time in the garden. Snow and hoarfrost that could decorate the garden during this period please us not every year. Therefore, it is often necessary to contemplate only coniferous and bare branches of deciduous trees and shrubs that are slightly faded from the cold. At the same time, the latter can be a good help to preserve the decorativeness of the garden. The textures, color and shape of the branches make it possible to contemplate the quiet charm of "bare" plants. What trees and shrubs with beautiful bark and branches will save the situation in the cold, but snowless season, I will tell in this article.

Off-season stars - plants with the most beautiful branches and bark

To achieve the maximum effect of plants with bright branches, plant shrubs in groups, and select trees where you can notice and appreciate the beauty of their bark.

1. Ash-tree maple "Winter Light"

Ash maple (Acer negundo) Being once an introducer (migrant plant), today it is very widespread and even becomes an aggressive, "weed" tree. Ash maple has interesting decorative varieties, most often notable for variegated foliage. But the maple variety "Winter Light" (Winter lightning) is mainly famous for its bright bark.

The name of the cultivar is translated as "Winter Lightning", and it arose thanks to the bright yellow bark of the young branches of this tree. It is as if they permeate a gloomy autumn or snow-white winter landscape with a bright flash. Unlike a gigantic species plant, the height of this variety does not exceed 3-5 meters. In this case, the tree lends itself well to shearing, which also contributes to the appearance of young, most intensely colored, branches.

To make the maple look as decorative as possible in the autumn-winter period, it is recommended to trim it 2-3 times in summer. Maple ash is a very unpretentious and resistant plant, undemanding to growing conditions. The tree is quite frost-resistant, however, in especially frosty winters, the tips of the branches can freeze slightly. Nevertheless, the plant is quickly restored.

Acer negundo 'Winter Lightning' maple ash tree.

2. Small-leaved linden "Winter Orange"

Small-leaved linden "Winter Orange" (Tilia cordata 'Winter Orange') - a fairly tall tree, reaching a height of 15 to 20 meters. Like all types of lindens, small-leaved linden blooms profusely with very fragrant flowers and has a spherical or pyramidal crown and characteristic heart-shaped leaves.

The main value of this variety is the bright orange color of the bark of young shoots. With the advent of winter, such a coloring becomes even brighter, and the trees glow incredibly effectively against the background of white snow or its absence.

This linden is very resistant to cutting and shaping, so it is often used to create tall hedges, bersos or trimmed malls. At the same time, pruning of this variety also contributes to a greater brightness of the tree, since it is the young bark that is most noticeably colored, and as the branches age, the colors fade.

Trimming this linden variety is recommended annually - at least once a season. Linden is a fast-growing breed that is not too picky about the growing conditions, but grows best on fertile loamy and loamy soils. This breed does not tolerate stagnation of water and rooting. It tolerates gas contamination and can be used in urban landscaping. It is applied both in group landings, and in single. Absolutely winter-hardy plant in the middle lane.

Read more about small-leaved linden in article 5 of the best plants for creating hedges that protect against dust.

Small-leaved linden "Winter Orange" (Tilia cordata 'Winter Orange').

3. Birch Jacquman

The white bark of the modest beauty of a birch has been familiar to us since childhood, but Jacquman's birches (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii) the bark has virtually no characteristic black canceled. Jacqueman Birch is considered the most snow-white of all existing species of birches. Due to this feature, the purely white trunks of these trees seem to be carved out of ice.

Trunks of Jacquman's birch trees acquire a characteristic color in the sixth year, before that, young trunks have pinkish shades. In an adult tree, dark brown branches contrast with the boiled-white trunk. This species belongs to relatively fast-growing rocks. In adulthood, Jacquman's birch reaches 15-20 meters, while the crown is not too spreading (no more than 5 meters), and the branches are mainly oriented upwards. Autumn color of foliage is bright yellow.

Although it is better to plant birch trees in a sunny place, Jacquman's birch will tolerate partial shade better than other representatives of the species. The tree is resistant to drought, but loves moist soil and does not tolerate excessive compaction of the trunk circle.

It is best to use birch as a solitary focal plant. Often it is used in tree and shrub groups, alleys and groves. Highly winter-hardy in the middle lane.

Jacqueman Birch (Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii).

4. Willow Matsudana "Tortuoz"

Willow Matsudana "Tortuoz" (Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa') may occur under the name crimped willow "Erythroflexuose" ('Erythroflexuosa') The view is a small tree or large shrub, which in good conditions can reach a height of five meters, but most often does not grow above 3.5 meters.

It differs in narrow, twisted light green leaves and yellow catkins that appear in spring. The main decorative feature is weeping shoots, which at a young age can have an orange-yellow, red-orange color, and they are strongly crimped and wavy.

Adult trunks can also be fancifully intertwined. This spectacular tree is very unpretentious, prefers moist soils, but, unlike other types of willows, it can grow even with some soil dryness in the presence of irrigation.

Matsudana willow grows at a record speed and already at the age of 3 literally before our eyes turns from a twig into a tree. Therefore, it is indispensable where you want to create a spectacular landscape composition in a short time.

However, the willow of Matsudan has some "pitfalls", in particular, low winter hardiness. In adverse years, adult trees can severely freeze or even freeze completely. Nevertheless, within the variety there are both more and less frost-resistant clones. And in the case of this willow, everything has to be checked in practice.

Read also our article Variegated willows in my garden - are beautiful at any time of the year.

Willow Matsudana 'Tortuosa' (Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa').

5. Derain

Derain (Cornus) is a popular shrub that does not need a special introduction, since it is well known to many. To create spectacular shrubbery compositions, attractive variegated varieties are chosen. But in order to decorate the late autumn and winter landscape, there are several specialized varieties with multi-colored branches.

So, the name Deren 'Midwinter Fire' ("Winter Fire") speaks for itself. Its expressive branches, like flames, enclose the orange-red and yellow colors of young shoots, which become especially bright in winter. Plant height up to 2 meters.

Another derain - 'Kesselringii' - an energetically growing shrub with dark red shoots, which in winter change to blackish-purple. In summer, the foliage is green in color, and in autumn, oval leaves become saturated red and violet.

Derain 'Sibirica' - a well-known variety, which is primarily valued due to variegated foliage, but in winter and in the off-season the shrub is no less attractive due to its bright raspberry branches. It grows to 2.5 meters.

Derain Flaviramea ("Flaviramea") will be a great addition to varieties with stems of red hues, since its branches are painted in greenish-yellow tones. The most vividly similar color is also manifested in winter. The leaves are egg-shaped in the summer green, and in the fall they turn red or orange.

It is very effective to plant differently colored varieties of derain in small groups next to each other (for example, a strip). But sometimes designers intentionally randomly mix the above varieties side by side, which produces the effect of a New Year’s fireworks in the garden.

Read also about derain in the article The best shrubs for creating hedges in partial shade.

Derain "Winter Fire" (Cornus 'Midwinter Fire').

6. Hazel "Kontorta"

Hazel "Kontorta" (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') is a decorative variety of hazelnut, also known as "hazelnut". It has rounded, stiff, jagged slightly twisted leaves that are not particularly attractive. However, after they fall in the fall, bizarre wavy twisted branches come to the fore.

During this period, the plant is a real living sculpture and it is difficult not to notice it. In early spring, bright earrings appear on its amazing branches, which hang gracefully, spraying clouds of the finest pollen. If you plant such hazel in your garden, it will be especially spectacular to use evening lighting, which will help emphasize its magical, picturesque structure.

This varietal plant grows rather slowly and in adulthood does not exceed two meters in height. Red leaf variety of this variety 'Red Majestic', also having convoluted branches, adds to the garden decorativeness in the summer. After all, the leaf blades of this plant have an attractive red-cinnamon color all season.

Both cultivars are grafted to the stock of a species hazel, which does not have convoluted branches, therefore, when direct shoots appear near the root neck, they must be removed as quickly as possible so that they do not take food from the decorative scion and do not spoil the view.

In general, hazel is an undemanding shrub that grows well in partial shade or in full sun and on virtually any soil, except for marshy and overly stony. Like its relative, hazelnuts, decorative hazel tied with edible nuts.

Hazel "Contorta" (Corylus avellana 'Contorta').

7. Willows - purple and white

Many species of willows are famous for the brightly colored bark of young shoots. The brightest branches have numerous varieties purple willow (Salix purpurea), which got its specific name due to the purple color of the bark.

This willow has many varieties, which mainly vary in height. Moreover, all varieties of purple willow have small bluish leaves, spherical habit and very thin numerous branches covered with dark raspberry bark.

Some varieties are no less effective in relation to the color of shoots. willow white (Salix alba). In nature, this is a rather tall powerful tree, but varietal specimens grow as shrubs that regularly cut. In particular, willow Yelverton different bright yellow-orange stems at the base of the bush. They become reddish-orange closer to the tips, which in winter creates the effect of a blazing bonfire.

White willow 'Golden Ness' (Salix alba 'Golden Ness').

White willow Britense has more purple stems also with the presence of orange tones. White willow Golden Ness notable for its golden yellow bark with light orange tones. The most popular willow is white Flame, in the color of which there are red, yellow, orange and greenish colors.

All varieties of white willow are highly winter-hardy in the middle lane and are most often used to create hedges. To achieve maximum decorativeness, in the spring willows are cut "to the stump." Subsequently, due to rapid growth, a thick “fountain” grows from hemp over the season from young shoots with bright bark, which will become a decoration of the bush in the autumn and winter. For better growth, willows require moist soils or regular and plentiful watering and a sunny place.