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News Story
Updated: 01/09/2014 01:48:41PM

Native plants enhance the winter landscape

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Carolina jessamine is a native vine that flowers in winter. A bright splash of yellow sparkling in the tree tops against a winter clear blue sky is a sure sign spring is on its way.

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

All hollies are dioecious, meaning they bear male and female flowers on separate plants. Only the female produces the bright red berries, and you must have a non-bearing male plant nearby.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Dahoon holly grows in an upright narrow form and is good for small spaces. It prefers moist to seasonally wet areas. It has medium to small oval leaves with sometimes curved margins and spines at the tips.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Walter’s viburnum is twiggy small leafed shrub that bears showy clusters of small white flowers in early spring. The cultivar ‘Mrs. Schiller’s Delight’ has a rounded compact growth form and a prolonged bloom period. It is an excellent choice for more formal native plant landscapes.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Fringe tree is not much to look at most of the year, but spectacular when in bloom. This slow growing small graceful multi-trunked tree bears dangling clusters of delicate fringelike fragrant blossoms. It is drought tolerant and requires little care once established.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Sparkleberry has clusters of small fragrant bell-like blossoms that resemble lily-of-the-valley. The red-brown mottled bark is quite attractive. The small black fruits are relished by deer and other wildlife.

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A lot of our native plants may not fit our esthetic of beauty in winter. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder — sometimes looking at other attributes of native plants makes them more attractive. Native plants are valuable to wildlife for the cover, nesting sites and food they provide. And using native plants in your landscape can reduce your water, fertilizer and insecticide use.

Many native plants are deciduous, losing their leaves in winter. Others, such as firebush are not cold hardy and are burnt by frost, but readily recover in spring with lush new growth. And birds will devour berries of firebush even after a freeze.

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