Frost Proof Combo
A February garden in the Pacific Northwest can look cold and dormant. In addition, weather this time of year can be highly unpredictable. Warm days may be followed by cold spells that have the potential to do harm to any number of plants. However, with the selection of the right plant palette, Pacific Northwest gardens can be frost-proof, colorful and cheery throughout the tough dark and cold days of winter.
Three plants that work well in combination, are frost-proof and that will instantly pep up the winter garden are: (1) Carex oshimensis Evercolor ‘Everillo,’ (2) Hellebore x ballardiae ‘Cinnamon Snow’ and (3) Polystichum polyblepharum or tassel fern. Planted next to each other these three plants look amazing in the winter garden and bring out the best in each other.
Carex o. ‘Everillo’ is an evergreen clumping grass whose blades emerge lime green then turn golden yellow. In winter the eye craves warm tones and this is the perfect plant to meet that need.
Hellebore ‘Cinnamon Snow’ is an evergreen perennial that produces a multitude of creamy yellowish/white flowers with yellow centers from late December until March. Even when the plant is not blooming it has striking green foliage with red stems.
Polystichum polyblepharum or tassel fern which has shiny, serrated light green and dark green fronds which are also reliably evergreen. Planted next to each other these three plants look amazing in the winter garden and bring out the best in each other.
The combination of plants described above are a perfect fit for a shady woodland garden which can be dark and dreary in winter and lacking in flowering plants. They also continue to look good after a hard frost.
These three plants will not do well in a full sun location when summer rolls around. However, they are capable of handling dry shade conditions
Substitutes also exist, including Carex o. ‘Evergold,’ Helleborus x niger ‘Jacob’ and Polystichum minutum (Western Sword Fern).