By Irene Shonle, CSU Extension, El Paso County
With climate change creating warmer, drier winters, Colorado gardeners can't rely much on a snowy landscape to hide a garden that has lost its summer pizazz.
This post is devoted to native plants that seldom make the winter interest lists, but will help make your yard maintain some flair during the dullest time of year. Not only that, but they are also waterwise stars -- we are also experiencing hotter, drier summers, and need to consider our overall water use directed towards landscapes.
I am in love with yuccas. Their spiky leaves look fantastic all winter, and there is the added bonus of white stalks of flowers in June. If you do get snow, the drama only increases:
Gutierrezia sarothrae), in my opinion, is a much under-utilized plant. It has tidy blooms of yellow in the fall (appreciated by pollinators), but then in the winter, the seed heads dry out to created a charming presence. A bit like a rough- around-the-edges baby's breath.
Krascheninnikovia lanata) is a much under-utilized shrub. It is extremely waterwise and provides food for many bird species, including horned lark, Brewer's sparrow, sage thrasher black-throated sparrow, loggerhead shrike, and other birds. Not only that, but it keeps its narrow, grey- green leaves in the winter, and the seed heads look wonderful in the morning light.