Winter colors

Even the colors of winter can’t be ignored at this time of the year.  While the blooms are now just a memory of days gone by I’m left with some colorful foliage to extend the season of interest yet again.


I have several Azaleas in my new garden bed that were moved here when we put the addition on our house a few years back.  They were quite large and have small pink blooms in the early spring.  Unfortunately I haven’t been able to identify them but they are an older plant since they are planted throughout the neighborhood.  This year is the first time I’ve seen them get this gorgeous color.  

Purple Fountain Grass

Purple Fountain Grass

Even the yellow color of Pennisetum can’t be ignored in the winter.   I will most likely leave these stand for the winter and removed them in the spring since they aren’t hardy in my area.  They grow very fast in one season.



This may be ‘Husker Red’, but I’m not positive.  I bought this at the Native Plant Sale this past spring and it was labeled Penstemon Smooth Beardtongue.  The flowers are white and resemble a foxglove bloom.  Some of the leaves are turning this pretty burgundy color now.


23 responses to this post.

  1. You do have some pretty winter colors. I especially like the bronze of the Azaleas. I planted a small one this year-it was an Easter gift from our daughter. It bloomed again in Sept. ?? But it didn’t turn like yours. Enjoy your colors, all we have is browns and grays!

    Thanks Beckie. Yours sounds like an Encore Azalea, the new line that blooms more than one. These are an old variety that have been in my neighborhood for 30+ years. I’ve never seen it color up this nice though in the fall & winter. Glad I could share some color with you today!


  2. Goog morning Racquel, ah… you have certainly have lovely winter colours in your garden, mine is just in ‘black and white’ now…Have a great day/ Tyra

    Good Morning Tyra! Thank you I’m glad you enjoyed my winter color in the garden today. Take care!


  3. Hi Racquel, don’t you just love the evergreen azaleas, even those older varieties. It seems that the red and pink ones turn lovely reddish hues in the winter while the white flowered ones are a bright lighter green then. I wonder if yours is Coral Bells? It is one of the earliest to bloom and can usually be spotted in older neighborhoods well before the other azaleas. Our drought has really been hard on ours, but they are hanging on and we are getting more rain just now so maybe a good show next spring is in the cards!

    Hi Frances. I do love the evergreen Azaleas, it’s nice to have some substance in the garden at this time of the year. I never noticed that about the older varieties, thanks for pointing it out. 😉 Thank you for giving me a possible identification of these beauties. We’ve had a nice wet fall & winter so they are really doing well. I hope that means a nice display in February for these early bloomers. Good luck with yours next season!


  4. I have noticed that azalea foliage in the area is getting very colorful this year, much more so than normal. I wish I knew why this year would be different than any other.

    That’s what I was wondering as well Les. I’ve never seen this much color in past years. The rain and extreme cold days maybe?


  5. Nice to see some pretty colors from a sunny day. It’s just been grey and gloomy here for a while now.

    Thank you! Well we are getting a gloomy day here today Cindy. Rain, rain, rain! Yuck! 🙂


  6. One of my favorite winter sights are grasses that are completely brown, they almost look white. I love that look during the winter. They look so perfect on a cold dreary day. I don’t cut mine back until the first of spring.

    They are lovely in the winter (the grasses) Linda. It almost reminds me of bales of hay, lol. I cut mine back in the spring too. 🙂


  7. What great pics, I can’t help but be envious of the sun shining on your winter foliage, could use a little sunshine up this way 🙂

    Thanks Mom! Well we don’t have any sunshine today, it’s raining cats & dogs. It stormed all night and poor Spaz was just beside herself which means little sleep for me. 🙂


  8. Very nice color, especially that azalea. It is quite colorful! How great is that for winter interest?

    Thanks Tina. Yep that Azalea is really showing her stuff right now in the garden. 🙂 Her evergreen foliage is much appreciated year round.


  9. Very pretty colors indeed. It’s nice to see others appreciating all the colors of nature.

    Thanks Darla. I really enjoy the colors of foliage whether they be green, red, orange or yellow.


  10. The azalea colors are pretty. I love the bronze tinge that several of our evergreens take on during the winter.


    Thank you Cameron. This year the Azaleas have been more colorful than in years past. I love it!


  11. That sunny foliage looks so nice. A lot of people don’t realize how attractive foliage can be in a winter garden. You notice the shapes and subtle colors more.

    Thanks Marnie. Sometimes you need to plant for foliage because the blooms don’t last too long. 🙂 I do notice the colors more in the winter when everything else is hibernating.


  12. My soil isn’t good for Azaleas and I’ve lost a number over the years – except for a single pot plant I planted 20 years ago which is still going strong. Every year I see its pink flowers it is a triumph over adversity!

    How wonderful that you’ve managed to keep one going strong in a container for 20 years! That is a big triumph over adverstity in my books. 🙂 They do prefer an acidic soil that is well draining, but mine did great in our heavy clay too. My neighbors neglect theirs completely and they look better than mine do. lol


  13. Anything with color and foliage right now would be welcome! I don’t have much of either. It’s nice you shared yours Racquel!

    I agree completely. Thanks Kathleen, I’m glad I could share my bits of winter color with you today.


  14. That azalea is a pretty color. Mine just look kind of blah right now. I wish that pennisetum was perennial for us but it isn’t. It adds such a beautiful color and texture to the garden. That penstemon does look Husker Red to me too. I planted penstemon “Sour grapes” this summer. I’m hopeful it will return to bloom it’s beautiful dark purple.

    Thanks Susie, it’s never looked this great in all the years I’ve had it. It’s been a strange season in the garden. Husker Red isn’t a perennial for you Susie? It is a perennial here in my garden. Sour Grapes sounds like a beauty too!


  15. Subtle and lovely, Racquel. (Your holiday header is very festive!)

    Thank you Joey on both counts! 🙂


  16. There is color everywhere, Racquel, as you have so beautifully illustrated. Even in the dreary doldrums of February, there’s color to be found if we only look for it. Some of the iridescent colors of snow are among the most beautiful of the year, IMO. 🙂

    Thank you Nancy. I notice things more closely since I started blogging. In the past I might of taken these subtle colors for granted at this time of the year. Shame on me! 🙂


  17. Hi, Racquel–I’m 99% sure that Penstemon is “Husker’s Red”–I love the foliage as much as the flowers. Only one of my azaleas has turned–it’s the color of barberry almost–but all the other evergreen ones are just their normal green. I have heard that dry summers produce earlier and more intense leaf color, but that could be an urban (or would it be a rural?) myth–anyway, I haven’t been able to confirm. I also left you a message on Les’s blog–we have tons of beauty berry bushes on the property, and they transplant easily–I’ll bring you one in the spring!

    Hi Cosmos! I thought it might be too, but thanks for the assistance! I really like the foliage on it too. The flowers were charming this past May, but the foliage has really shined. Isn’t that strange about the Azaleas? I don’t get it either, Les made the same remark. That urban or rural myth might have something to it. Makes sense in a way. I was thrilled to hear about the Beautyberry transplant you will have to share with me in the spring! Thank you so much! If there is anything I can share with you, just let me know! 🙂


  18. My poor azaleas were so confused they were blooming just last week. Then we got a real cold snap a few days ago. I think they’ll go back and hide for a few months now!

    Poor things, the weather was teasing them into thinking it was spring! 🙂


  19. Surprisingly I even had much greenery around here until recently. I am leaving my plants up to gather snow during the winter to add interest to my winter garden. I suppose I should cut them down for the winter but I want to be able to find them when spring comes around.

    I used to cut down my plants in the fall too Cinj until the last couple of years. It does add more interest in the winter months especially with snow on them. 🙂


  20. The azalea foliage is such a beautiful colour 🙂

    Thank you Amy, this is the prettiest it has ever colored up in years. 🙂


  21. Hi Racquel !
    I have Huskers Red and it looks that way to me as well … before it was under snow and ice that is ! .. Yes to ornamental grasses .. I’m going to do a little post on my smaller ones looking quite nice in the snow : )
    I have a Northern Lights Azalea which has refused to bloom this past year .. I have to find out why … and what I can do about it all. So yours looks wonderful even without blooms , right now!

    Hi Joy, thanks for the info and confirmation on the identity. The grasses do look nice in the winter months. I need to add more varieties to my garden in the future. 🙂 Look forward to seeing yours with snow on it! Azaleas can be quite tricky I’ve found. My neighbors completely neglect theirs and they always bloom like crazy every year. Darnest thing! Thank you!


  22. Posted by spookydragonfly on December 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    You are fortunate to have the winter color of your Azalea! I’ve spoken to the owner of the largest nursery/greenhouse here in our county on the Azalea. He doesn’t carry it(and neither does anyone else locally)and has told me it’s a losing battle with our soil type. I mentioned amending the soil, he laughed and told me “it’s your money, your loss!”. Thanks for sharing your winter color!

    Thanks Spooky! I’m pleased with the color this year. It has never looked this good in years past. Strange season we’ve had so far. That is a shame about your soil. I know they prefer a well draining & acidic foundation. You are quite welcome, glad I could share my winter color with you!


  23. Hmmmm, I have to husker red penstemon also, buts its foliage is way way darker than that, almost purple, on all the leaves. Since you got it at a native plant sale, maybe it’s native Penstemon digitalis?

    That is a good possibility too Monica. Thanks for the heads up. It was a toss up really between the two. It was just marked Penstemon Smooth Beardtongue on the tag. The flowers are white with a pale lavender throat.


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