By now you've probably done most of the pruning you needed or wanted to do and your landscape is no longer a vista of 40 shades of beige, brown and black. If you are trying to decide on some replacements that won't cause you all that grief and pruning work next spring, I have some suggestions that may help you.
Right now there are a few shrubs and trees that are flowering that didn't seem to mind the cold at all. Best of all they will provide a nice background for winter damaged annuals, perennials and sensitive shrubs in the future or ones that you may not have had time to prune back yet this winter. But.....next year, if you plant any of the following when and if the cold hits us again there will still be a little color left in your landscape.
The Loropetalum is still in full bloom and has been since the beginning of January. It has delicate deep pink flowers and dark green foliage. Loropetalum is an evergreen shrub and will make a good background plant, hedge or a stand alone specimen. Our Loropetalum is about 15 ft. tall and wide. There is a dwarf version also so make sure you read the label carefully so you won't be disappointed. Our full grown Loropetalum is planted near and overhangs a rounded walkway and it has provided a canopy of flowers in the winter and in summer a shaded walkway.
The Pink Tabebuia is in full bloom n ow with soft pink flowers and on warm days it will fill the air with a light vanilla scent. This is a medium sized shade tree which grows to about 25 ft. tall and as wide. It's a nice tree to shade an outside patio or eating area. It is deciduous so it will lose it's leaves in early winter. Ours burned back a little but is blooming nicely now.
The Loquat tree is now in full bloom. It's a very tough evergreen shade tree. It's ivory colored flower clusters are softly scented and it will give you very nice, deliciously, sweet fruit later in the spring. Flowering time is off and on fall through March.
And as the whole world probably knows by now.....my favorite shrub, the Tea Olive or Osmanthus is in full bloom. Right now both of ours are totally covered with tiny white flowers that smell like ripe apricots that gently scent the air. It's an evergreen shrub that grows about 10 ft. tall and 4-5ft. wide. When mature they will bloom 3 or 4 times a year.
The Viburnum Suspensum is also in bloom with clusters of white flowers. It's a small evergreen shrub that only grows about 4-5 ft. tall and as wide. A very tough and carefree plant. There are other types of Viburnums some that grow very tall.....so if you want the small variety.....it's Viburnum Suspensum. It makes a great hedge plant as it won't require very much pruning.
Other plants that are blooming right and were hardly touched by the cold weather at all were:
Pansies and Violas. These annuals will add lots of color to your garden. They do not like hot weather at all but when it comes they will die.
Bulbine did well and so did the Petunias and Chenille Plant. Some Petunia flowers burned back but didn't kill the plant and they are now in full bloom. We use the Chenille plant as a ground cover and it had a few leave slightly burned but the plant stayed in bloom.
The Amazon Lily made it through all our cold weather with only the slightest damage and it never stopped blooming. They may be found in stores now in the bulb section. Another nice thing about this lily is that it grows in dense shade and its blooms look very much like a Narcissus.
And....mentioning Narcissus Tom grew some from bulbs and planted them outside and they have been in bloom for a month or so through all the cold weather. Our neighbor planted some in his garden last spring. They survived the summer and they bloomed beautifully for him this winter. Narcissus are always a reminder of springtime for us transplanted Northerners.
Even though Citrus Trees aren't in flower right now, they soon will be. Lots of citrus can be harvested throughout the winter. We have totally enjoyed ours this winter. It's nice to know our fresh orange juice came from our backyard and we didn't have to purchase one drop all winter long. That's quite money saver!
Finally, it's also a good idea to check with your friends and neighbors to see what plants survived the winter chills and did well.....and ones that didn't. This is a good way to make future decisions on what to plant in your yard.