6:00am

Sat December 14, 2013
Garden Report

Miss The Colors Of Autumn? Take A Closer Look

Snow And Trees Mingle To Create A Work Of Art
Credit Yngve Bakken Nilsen / Flickr - Creative Commons

Trees accentuate the beauty of snow in Colorado winters; and though many may be void of leaves, the heavy snowfall can sculpt the trees into works of art. Each tree species has a different response to heavy snowfall.

Tom Throgmorton Explains There's More Than Meets The Eye To A Winter Landscape

Pine and spruce are dark contrasts in a snow landscape. The ends of branches are bowed and coated with white snow highlighting the dark green to blue colors of the inner branches.    

Even the smaller sized junipers become exciting blanketed with snow. Big, old junipers bow under the weight and take on new, interesting forms. Their texture is softer, drooping and diffused. Once the snow melts next spring in the mountains, junipers will bounce upright again.

Parts of plants pop out in the snow creating vivid colors clashing with the white drifts. Red berries on cotoneaster and viburnums light up in the snow. Fruit on crabapples and hawthorns become ornaments, while orange and red rose hips are topped with an icing of snow. 

Broadleaf evergreens like boxwood, euonymus and holly stand out green against the white snow. Not all deciduous trees lose their leaves this time of year; brown oak leaves add color as they rustle in the wind. 

Bean pods on catalpa, coffeetree and honeylocust also catch the eye. Some dangle in clusters while others are solitary pods. The branch above them holds the snow but the pods are slender enough to shed it off, revealing another contrast to the white landscape. 

The snow also accents the silhouette of plants buried beneath. The symmetrical, pyramidal form of linden is accented and the arching habit of ash, elm, and honeylocust spreads over streets and yards. 

While we often think of winter as barren and white, the trees and plants of Colorado help provide a more colorful landscape with distinctive shapes to create a truly unique landscape. 

Related program: