Vibrant Winter Border

Flowers are few and far between in the winter garden, but devote an area to winter performers, such as bare-stemmed beauties and bright evergreens, and this season can be as colorful as any other.
Salix Alba Tree

Salix Alba Tree

Add winter interest to a garden border with Salix alba.

Photo by: DK - Gardening Step by Step © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Gardening Step by Step , 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Add winter interest to a garden border with Salix alba.

When to Plant: Spring and late autumn (for trees)
At Its Best: Winter
Time to Complete: 6 hours

Materials Needed:

  • spade
  • well-rotted organic matter
  • all-purpose granular fertilizer
  • Salix alba var. vitellina 'Britzensis'
  • Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea'
  • Cornus alba 'Sibirica'
  • dwarf conifers
  • Erica carnea
  • variegated ivies

Start With Structure

Cornus and Salix grown for colored bark can be pollarded, so their stems grow at head–height on a single trunk, or coppiced, where they grow up from the ground. Plant the pollarded shrubs at the back of the border, and the coppiced shrubs at the front.

Plant Around Shrubs

Fill in the border around the structural plants with low–growing heathers in contrasting colors, dwarf conifers and ivies. Position these plants so they help enhance the color of the naked stems.


Water plants regularly throughout the first year. Trim off dead growth from all plants so that the area looks good for winter. Coppice or pollard Cornus and Salix every few years in spring and feed with all-purpose fertilizer.

Next Up

Winter Shrubs

Count on winter shrubs to add eye-catching color to your landscape—at a time of the year when color’s hard to come by.

Winter Berries

Cultivate some winter interest in your yard by adding trees and shrubs that showcase winter berries.

Pruning Roses During Winter

See why you should prune your roses when it's chilly outside.

Winter Blooms

Flowering witch hazel and honeysuckle varieties liven up a garden during cold weather.

Tips to Perk Up a Bleak Winter Garden

Recommendations for adding cold-weather appeal to the garden.

Cover Up for Winter

Cold, dark winter days can be depressing, but with a few well-chosen climbers to dress up your screens, boundaries, and bare-stemmed trees, this can be an exciting and beautiful season.

Plant a Shady Border

Some of the most beautiful shrubs grow well only in low light conditions. Here's how to create a colorful planting bed with shrubs and underplanted perennials.

Pruning Trees in the Winter

It is easier to assess and prune deciduous trees in winter, when they are leafless.

Q&A: Readying Roses for Winter

Read on for tips on preparing your roses for the chilly weather.

Preparing Perennials for Winter

A few basic cleanup steps in late fall will help your perennial beds thrive next growing season.

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