Seasonal Interest

 

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Asters and mountain mont combine to create a textured and interesting winter landscape while feeding the winter resident wildlife.

Finally it is starting to feel like winter. During this mild weather the birds, chipmunks, squirrels and others have had an extended harvesting and caching season. In some landscapes it is a struggle for resident winter wildlife to find food that will sustain them through the coldest seasons.

Often when planning a landscape the term seasonal interest is batted around during plant material selection. Designers and homeowners alike are looking for plants that offer something aesthetic in all seasons or a combination of plants that will do the same.

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The fluffy seeds of aster remain on the plant well into winter, providing seasonal interest and valuable food for wildlife.

The selections typically reflect what is interesting to the property owner, the human eye and the most challenging season to address seems to be winter. The biggest challenge is to agree upon what makes something interesting. Sure, there are evergreens providing color throughout the year. But are they really interesting? Do they change to reflect what is going on through the season? And why is it that so many think that green is the only color that is interesting in winter?

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Grasses like this Little Bluestem provide valuable seeds throughout the winter as well as necessary shelter for wildlife.

We propose considering the grays, browns and tans of the winter landscape as interesting. We also propose reconsidering what you cut back and what you leave up in your fall clean up. Finally, we suggest when considering seasonal interest in your landscape designs that you consider what may be interesting to the other lifeforms that may visit or take up residence in your garden space.

The good news is that if we plan for year-round seasonal interest in our landscapes, often that means berries, flowers, fall colors, evergreens, interesting seed pods and phenomenal bark. What this also means is diversity in the landscape. Diversity in the landscape equals lots of support for the animals trying to make a living where we try to make a living.

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Male and female Goldfinch using the seeded of Rudbeckia maxima for perch and picnic.

To find out what plants are best for wildlife, be sure to check out our online plant finder, where you can search by plant characteristic.

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Seeds on Little Bluestem

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One comment

  1. Beautiful post. I wish more people would leave their garden to overwinter and not pull everything up. It creates interest and beauty in the winter landscape, but also overwinters beneficial insects and feeds wildlife.

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