There may be a snow storm or two, but Raleigh, N.C. (Zone 7B) enjoys more moderate winters than the first three locations featured in this Favorite Winter Plants series. In fact, you can pretty much garden all winter long, reports garden writer and coach Helen Yoest. And she should know. Helen not only owns Gardening With Confidence, she also serves on the board of advisors for JC Raulston Arboretum.
“I planted Helen’s Haven with winter interest in mind,” she says about her own garden and wildlife habitat. “During the coldest, darkest days, when I need it the most, I have plants bringing me scent, color, form and texture.”
One example is coral bark maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’), shown above. The tree offers fabulous fall color as well as orangey new leaves that turn green in summer. But Helen grows the tree for its winter beauty. “In winter, the bark color is more pronounced, especially on the new branches,” she reports. “The coral color will dazzle you.”
Not far from the maple is winter daphne (Daphne), shown above. “A winter daphne may up-and-die on you, but the scent in the middle of winter is worth the risk,” admits Helen. “I have two at the front entrance. One for now and one for when one dies. The wildlife appreciate the pollen and evergreen cover as well.”