Most people miss the abundance of color that we have 9 months out of the year here in Colorado during the winter months. Winter has its own charm and if you look close enough you might be surprised what you see. Grab a camera and take a field trip along the riverbed, greenbelt or along the foothills and see the beauty of winter. Listed below are a few plants that also are splendorous in winter.
Many ornamental perennial grasses wave in the wind like wheat. Catch the early morning sun or as the sun is setting and you can capture the best light for grasses. Photographers would call that the ‘Golden Hour’. Any snow that is around only enhances the shot. A quick modification on a photo editor and you have an amazing shot.
Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) is stunning in the fall with its bright amber flowers. As the freeze settles in, the flowers fade into golden stars which you will find around town in the more rural areas or in the foothills. Zoom in close with a camera as the spent flowers makes for an interesting composition.
Red Twig Dogwood
Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) – make for great accents to holiday porch pots with fresh greens. The crimson stems pop their color when all else is brown and grey
Chokeberries (Aronia melancarpa) have dried fruit hanging on which we wonder if the plant does this intentionally for birds to come and enjoy a winter snack.
Blue Mist Spirea
The Bluebeard Blue Mist Spirea (Caryopteris x clandonensis) has a delicate dried seed pod from the amazing deep blue/purple summer flower.
Another native plant found especially in the foothills is Mountain Mahogany (Cerocarpus montanus). A great xeric shrub with solid green leaves in the summer. Followed by its especially most interesting characteristic, which are the fuzzy, swirly-curly seed heads.
On a winter hike take time to notice the textures of things you miss in the summer. With the leaves off the deciduous trees, the winter landscape offers interesting and inviting silhouettes, lines and shadows. Use your imagination and sense what is happening in the landscape. What are the birds and wildlife doing at the time? Stop, take a deep cold breath of winter air and enjoy the splendor of what Mother Nature has to offer.