Oklahoma is known for its topographic foliage, which changes seasonally. Vegetation types range from Juniper woodlands and shortgrass prairie in the panhandle to mixed oak forests and swamps in the southeast. It can be tempting to think that the winter season can obscure Oklahoma’s beauty, but the reality is that some of Oklahoma’s finest shrubs and flowers come out to play in the winter.
At GreenPro our specialty includes the special flora and fauna that only Oklahoma offers. Homeowners looking to reflect Oklahoma’s year-round beauty in their property’s landscape design might be interested in a few of the below flowers we’ve listed that are special and unique to winter. Maybe it can give you some ideas on how best to bring your property to winter life!
Buxus sempervirens ‘Vardar Valley’
This is considered to be one of the few reliably evergreen forms of English Boxwood. Even so, it is recommended that Boxwood be watered every 12-14 days during the winter months to insulate roots against temperature fluctuations and winter drought. Also note: Boxwood in western Oklahoma prefers afternoon summer shade. The leaves are a fairly unique shade of blue-green throughout the year. New growth is light apple-green, giving the plant a distinct two-toned look in spring. Vader Valley Boxwood gets about 2-2.5 feet high, spreads to around 3 feet, and forms a low, somewhat flat-topped mound in the garden.
Chinese Hollies are widely used in Oklahoma gardens. They can be managed in the 5-6 foot range with judicious pruning, but can also grow significantly larger. Plants carefully shaped into pyramid tree forms are especially attractive. Noteworthy features are very dark, glossy green leaves with 3 spines & very large, showy red berries in winter. Homeowners should water every 12-14 days in winter to significantly reduce the possibility of root, stem, and foliage damage.
Native to our state, Yaupon and Dwarf Yaupon Hollies sometimes seem to be a mandated staple in both our commercial and home gardens. A very hardy broadleaf evergreen, this is a beautiful plant when allowed to mature to natural form. Ironically, the dwarf cultivar develops a dense rounded form with no pruning whatsoever. The multi-trunk tree form naturally assumes a beautifully relaxed & windswept shape and rewards gardeners with a good display of small, bright red berries in fall into winter.
Ilex x meserveae BLUE PRINCESS
This very attractive Holly is noteworthy for its foliage color – blue, blue-green, and blue-purple, each of which provides a good alternative to the shiny greens of most Hollies. This cultivar is also valuable for Oklahoma gardeners because it is more winter-hardy than many other holly hybrids and cultivars. If you want berries please remember to plant one male in with the females.
Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’
Shrub Dogwoods are not recommended for their blooms or their foliage, but instead, for the yellow, green, or red stems, they display so flamboyantly in winter. The shrub Dogwoods normally grown in Oklahoma have yellow or red stems. ‘Midwinter Fire’ beats them hands-down. The bottom of the stems are tawny yellow; the tops & the twigs are blood red.
A superb flowering shrub with four seasons of visual interest, its leaves are enormous and are lobed like the leaves of a Red Oak. Conical bloom clusters start pure white and gradually fade to a rusty brownish pink. The leaves turn rich shades of red & orange-red in the fall, and the winter bark is cinnamon tan and peels like the bark of birch trees. Although tolerant of light shade, these Hydrangeas will do just fine in full sun.
When it comes to the right type of foliage, it’s important to know not only what works for your property, but also what works for the area you’re in. GreenPro is an expert on the best ways to make your gardens come to life. Give us a call; we’d love to work with you!