For many parts of the country, winter can seem bleak or boring and well ... brown. But remember… brown is a color too! When looking at your plants beneath drifts of snow, you can forget that brown is one of our favorite colors! And there are so many different shades, each accenting other colors in the winter landscape for some truly beautiful results!
Brownies, Café au lait, Tea, Cinnamon, Ginger, Chocolate, Pecan, Walnut, Mocha, Caramel, and Coffee. Is your mouth watering yet? Other hues like Sand, Russet, Tawny, Umber, Taupe, Faun, and Khaki and conjure feelings of warmth and comfort! Sable, Gold, Copper, Penny, Brass, and Bronze all sound rich and luxurious!
Landscaping with brown in mind is as important to the landscape palette as other colors throughout the year, if not more! Because it only shines when the snow flies!
The most common winter browns are native and Ornamental Grasses. Ranging from tan, sable, blond and brown, they’ve become standard winter interest throughout the coldest seasons!
Those sandy, creamy beiges add fine texture and form, are an obvious choice all year.
Wildly popular because of the dimension and motion they add to the dormant garden, combined with their dramatic fall colors, Grasses can be wildly showy! The attractive feathery seed heads dry and wave in the wind. They’re just amazing when backlit by the setting sun, or landscape lighting all year long!
Deciduous shrubs, like colorful Red Twig Dogwoods and Burning Bush, really show their stuff once their stems are laid bare! The unique twisted branches of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick are revealed only when the leaves fall. While Pussywillow and Corkscrew Willow glow with brassy yellow, contorted stems!
The blushed trunks of Coral Bark Japanese Maples shine and Cherry trees show off gorgeous chestnut-red bark and dramatic lenticels in winter. Or add texture with peeling Paperbark Maples or uniquely bumpy Hackberry Trees. The gray flakey bark of Ironwood trees or the ghostly white and burnished gold of Birch and Aspen stands out among the snow.
Some Evergreen shrubs and trees celebrate by taking on bronzed winter hues! The Fernspray False Cypress retains its unique foliage but becomes a lovely chestnut brown. Arborvitae and Eastern Red Cedars flush burnt umber, ochre, and bronze. Russian Arborvitae transforms into beautiful taupe-brown shades during the colder months.
Broadleaf Evergreens such as Abelia, Oregon Grape Holly, and Rhododendrons go through a color change in the cold to break up the dreary winter views! And the unique purple-brown winter tones of some Encore Azaleas stand out against the white snow!
But don’t worry, that winter Sepia returns to its verdant green once temperatures warm and the chlorophyll reactivates in the warmth of early spring.
Hydrangeas add immensely to the dormant landscape with flower heads that dry and persist, turning an antique brown! Those dormant flower heads make bold statements and last forever! Useful for decoration and crafts while catching and sculpting the snow beautifully.
Don’t be in such a hurry to cut all the beautiful seed heads off in your Perennial borders! Offering different shades of tan, sienna, mahogany, almond, and taupe. Those Perennial plants and their dormant mounds of leaves, stems, and seedpods in varied hushed tones of tea and latte.
Hypericum St. John’s Wort has colorful seed pods and Coral Bells feature semi-evergreen foliage adding to a truly remarkable winter landscape! Coneflowers and Blackeyed Susan are not only attractive dried seed heads but nature’s bird feeders!
Mixing Broadleaved Evergreens, such as Boxwood and Hollies, seems to set off your dormant plants and grass combinations. A backdrop for others, Evergreens like Pines, Fir, and Spruce, and Japanese Yews, Distylium, and the vast array of Junipers, create harmony among your winter garden beds.
Oak trees are one of our favorite winter browns with amazing character. Many varieties of Oak hold their leaves until spring, retaining their honey-hued foliage for interest, screening, rustling sounds, and backdrops in your landscape.
Harvest hues, antique golds, sultry sepia, warm wheat, saddle, and sand. The far-reaching palette of the color brown just may have you enjoy seeing the temperatures drop!
Create a garden that’s the envy of the neighborhood (and neighborhood wildlife) today. Now is a great time to find plants that increase the aesthetics of your home and extend your garden enjoyment all winter long!
So when the snow flies, bundle up and let Nature Hills Nursery help you incorporate this vastly underused color into your landscape and embrace beloved brown!