By Victoria Fuller
If you’re living in the Great White North then you will know that January is often heralded as the worst month of the year for us gardeners, but don’t despair! When there’s a will there’s a way, and when it comes to gardening in more-or-less arctic conditions then we are pleased to shed some light on a fabulous gardening option for you: shrubs!
Now shrubs aren’t necessarily the most exciting thing to grow in your garden, they can’t be incorporated into tasty soups or salads (well we certainly wouldn’t recommend it at least) and they don’t necessarily have the beautiful colourful blooms of a summertime flower garden, but shrubs have their own distinctive evergreen charm and we think they deserve more praise and adoration!
Many shrubs provide pollination opportunities for birds, bees, and other insects, and there are plenty of shrubs that can survive even the most ghastly of Canadian Winters! So without further ado, here are the shrubs that we would recommend transplanting into your garden so that you can dust off the gardening gloves and enjoy your favourite hobby even when the air is so cold that it hurts your face!
This beautiful shrub is a great option for Canadian gardens as it is notoriously weather-resisting and grows exceptionally well in well-drained soil with medium moisture (aka the perfect Canadian Winter conditions!). Winter Heather will flower in the Winter months providing it is planted in full sun but is protected from severe cold (perhaps with straw around the roots to insulate them).
These versatile shrubs make a fantastic addition to gardens, pathways, driveways, you name it! Boxwoods are popular for their versatility, hardy nature, and the fact that you can trim them into basically any shape that you can put your mind to!
Boxwoods prefer full sun to partial shade, they like well-drained soil, and you will want to keep your eyes peeled for the elusive Boxwood Blight disease (but don’t worry if you notice that your shrub has come down with a case of Boxwood Blight, it is easily treatable with treatments that you can obtain at your local Garden Centre!). Boxwoods also make an incredible addition (or feature) in raised garden beds!
Possibly one of the most iconic seasonal shrubs of all time, the beautiful festive Holly deserves a mention here! Holly thrives in partial sun or partial shade and you will want to make sure to place your Holly in an area of your garden where it has room to grow. Holly is a slow-growing evergreen shrub that will usually grow around 4-7 inches per year and can take up to 30 years to reach its full potential! A fully-grow Holly tree can grow up to 50 feet in height! So perhaps take this into consideration when deciding whether to grow your Holly in the ground or in your planter box!
These beautiful coniferous evergreen shrubs will add a forest-like vibe to your outdoor space! Yew shrubs enjoy partial shade and well-drained sandy loam soil and are known to tolerate some pretty harsh winters (it is said that Yew trees originate in Manitoba and Minnesota but have also been traced as far south as Tennessee!).
This flowering shrub is actually native to Ontario, so growing it yourself should be a breeze! Witch Hazel can grow up to 20 feet tall so once again you will want to make sure you are leaving adequate space! Witch Hazel prefers full sun, moist but well-draining soil and slight acidity in its soil.
If you’re looking to add a pop of colour to your garden or raised garden bed, then Camellias would be an incredible option for you! Camellias tend to bloom between January and April and thrive best in partial sun with well-drained soil. Camellia shrubs would be an excellent option for your Cedar Planters raised garden bed (especially as they are built with Western Red Cedar which helps to insulate your plants and roots!).
Camellias need to keep their roots relatively dry so the built-in drainage system of our raised garden beds are the perfect choice! Camellias are also a great option for the more lazy gardeners as they actually prefer the slight acidity of rain water to other types of irrigation!
We hope that you’ve taken some inspiration from this list to grow some of your own Winter-loving shrubs! We are confident that no matter your landscaping style and aesthetic there is something for everybody on this list and we would love to see and hear about the shrubs that you decide to grow!
Also remember that even if you live somewhere where the air hurts your face you don’t necessarily have to hang up your gardening gloves or other accessories for half the year, when there’s a will there’s always a way and gardening is no exception (even if it does mean that you have to force yourself to take an interest in shrubs when you would typically be more interested in flowers or vegetables!).