Now that Mother Nature's typical winter persona has dumped inches (and feet) of snow onto my home, car and landscape, I find myself wishing there was something more to look at besides the blinding, stark blankets of white that now cover just about anything in sight.
As others might look forward to Valentine's Day this time of the year, I spend my January counting down the days until Feb. 2, or Groundhog Day. It's funny how serious I take Punxsutawney Phil's reaction to the sunlight, or lack thereof. But who among us hasn't hoped the groundhog wouldn't see his shadow so we could quickly cross winter off of the list and start planning for warming days and blooming plants?
I realize the weather is unpredictable, but I admit at times I allow my wishful thinking to get the best of me. It's unavoidable. But when winter makes me feel this way, I try to take a moment or two to appreciate the outdoor, scenic masterpiece Mother Nature is providing me at the moment. Although the fluffy, white snowflakes don't quite compare to spring's vibrant flowers, I enjoy winter's beauty, too. The appearance of white snow on the branches of my trees outside the back window is stunning. I can see sparkling snowflakes for quite some distance - they fall upon clusters of the bare deciduous trees that line the end of my property.
|Japanese maple laced with ice. Photo: Jodi Jacobson/iStock|
However, one tree sticks out among the rest. Its burgundy stems pop amongst the monotony of white surrounding the landscape. When I need a break from the winter drab - the endless snow piles, the slush and salt residue - my eyes turn to my Japanese maple tree.
The Japanese maple, a species of several different colors and shapes, is one of many trees that can add color to your landscape all four seasons of the year. Its reddish bark not only adds a bit of color among winter's grays and white snow, but its vibrant leaves, ranging from deep reds to fiery oranges and yellows, also stand out among most other foliage in autumn.
|Winterberry. Photo: Zorani/iStock|
The Japanese maple is available in several different varieties that serve numerous purposes within varying climates and environments. A few beautiful varieties include the 'Bloodgood,' 'Aconitifolium' and 'Aureum,'all of which impress us with their diverse colors - spectrums that begin with spring's luscious, bright flowers and end with winter's bits of visual interest.
Other colorful winter trees include winterberry, evergreen hollies, paperbark cherry and the possumhaw holly. Winterberries retain their scarlet red and orange fruit through mid-winter. The hollies maintain their green color into the winter months, much like familiar evergreens such as spruces and pines. And paperbark cherries show off their shiny, vibrant, reddish bark among dreary landscapes.