Looking for a little visual interest for your garden in winter? Here are couple suggestions that are producing some pretty showy colors and berries this time of year.
Deciduous Holly (Ilex decidua)
Also known as Possumhaw or Possumhaw Holly, this deciduous ornamental tree is a great solution to add some winter color to your garden. Although sometimes listed as a shrub, it typically range between 8-15' in height and looks better when shaped as a small tree form. The winter colors are produced by clusters of red berries that produce a vibrant patch of color often in a rather dull time of year. For best berry production, plant a male plant nearby to encourage pollination.
It is also native to Texas, it is low maintenance, heat tolerant and can do well in low water situations to help with water conservation. It also tolerates wet soil conditions and can often be seen in the wild around streams or low areas. Preferring full sun to light shade, this deciduous holly is a bit more on the natural and native side and may look better in more formal setting. For maximum winter impact, try to plant it with an evergreen background to give the berries a nice contrasting backdrop.
Popular varieties are 'Winter Red', 'Warrens Red' or 'Sundance'. It is also available in a 'Winter Gold' variety which produces berries in the peach or yellow color range rather than the red. Find a spot for one in your garden and enjoy the wintertime colors.
Nandina (Nandina domestica)
Another shrub that often gets overlooked, but is quite visible and attractive this time of year is Nandina. Now Nandina seems to be a bit of a devicive plan as some people love it and some people hate it. It is an evergreen shrub with delicate green leaves that turn red and burgandy during the winter. They also have clusters of red berries that will provide some visual interest in the colder parts of the winter.
Nandina domestica is the standard variety and can grow anywhere from 3-8' tall. It can also sometimes get leggy in the shade and looks a little bare at the found. It often looks best when planted in a massing or as a secondary level planting with something in front. There are also several other more sophisticated varieties such as 'Moonbay', 'Sienna Sunrise', 'Flirt' and several others that are are more compact and offer a more delicate or consistent colors. Stay away from the 'Nana' varieties which look more chlorotic and unhealthy.