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Southern Winter Gardening

Southern winter gardening tips (for zone 8) plus information on trees, plants, and flowers for visual interest and beauty in the landscape.

Violas for a Southern Winter Garden | Magnolia Days

Are you thinking of gardening in the middle of winter? It can be difficult to grasp. You want to stay inside during the cold plus everything looks so dormant out there. The thing is what you do for your landscape in winter can greatly contribute to success in the other months. This week I spent some time outside doing a few things with my yard and flower beds. My southern winter gardening efforts will pay off both immediately and in the months to come.

A gardening article here on the blog was a long time coming. The last one was well over a year ago. When I tell folks about my blog I say it is primarily about food and wine plus a much neglected part about gardening. My plan is to change that this year. My goal is to at least do one gardening post for each season. It was also an incentive to capture the beauty of the season with photos.

One highlight of a winter garden can be trees. You really have to plan ahead and plant them for the future. They become more beautiful as they age so a newly planted sapling will have a several years to really shine. One that is a real stunner is a Contorted Filbert, also called Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick. The twisted branches can’t be seen in the summer when it is covered with leaves. Winter, however, is a completely different story. Mine makes me smile every year:

Contorted Filbert aka Harry Lauder's Walking Stick | Magnolia Days

Some Japanese maples almost glow in the winter. Their bark can be a bright yellow or red. It gives visual interest and a pop of color in the garden. I have a Bihou (yellow bark) and a Sango Kaku (red bark):

Bihou and Sango Kaku Japanese Maple Trees Colorful Bark | Magnolia Days

Pansies and violas can really brighten up winter. My favorite of the two is the viola because I like the smaller blooms. The photo at the top of the post are of ones I’ve planted in the last few seasons. Both pansies and violas are relatively easy to maintain. They require little care other than watering in dry spells or after a freeze and pinching off faded blooms. It’s easy to make them a part of your southern winter gardening plan to liven up the landscape.

Cabbage and kale add texture and color. There is a wide variety of both ornamental and edible ones. Technically most all the ornamental ones are edible however they are very bitter. Taste aside, they sure do look nice in a flower bed or container garden.

Kale and Ornamental Cabbage | Magnolia Days

How to know what to do or plant in a southern garden? It’s simple! There is an updated book with information on thousands of plants for the region. It is The New Southern Living Garden Book and I was thrilled to receive a copy for review. (Note the link to the book is an Amazon Affiliate one). This book will be my first go-to resource.

The book is packed with valuable information. It contains the essentials of southern gardening, a southern plant finder, the South’s best plants, a practical guide, and seasonal checklist. The only part I wish had more detail is the checklist. All-in-all it is one I highly recommend. You can purchase a copy on Amazon by clicking on the link to the book above or the photo of the book (both Amazon Affiliate links).

What is your favorite winter plant of flower? It’s hard for me to narrow it down to one. Check out my article on Winter Beauty and Spring Preparation for tips on what to do in the garden and lawn. Enjoy the season and your southern winter gardening.

Disclosure: I received a copy of The New Southern Living Garden Book at no charge. I was under no obligation to publish a review. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated or contained within a guest post.


Friday 6th of February 2015

Glad to hear you'll be doing more gardening posts this year! I'll check out this book, but I'm wondering if there are any gardening apps you'd recommend too? I've been playing with LikeThat Garden, which lets you take photos to find out their names: I'm really enjoying it and would love recommendations on others apps I should download.


Saturday 7th of February 2015

I really don't know of any gardening apps. I usually look up info on the internet or go to my local nursery for advice. I'll be sure to check out that app though.


Sunday 25th of January 2015

Thanks for sharing the photos of your garden, Renee. It's so beautiful and colorful!