Landscape Designer Favorites: Winter Edition

Many of our customers are looking for a tree or shrub that looks beautiful in the spring and summer months but also looks great in the winter. Each landscape designer will offer a variety of great winter-interest plants, but they all have their favorites so we asked them to share. We’ve rounded up some of our landscape designers’ favorite trees and shrubs that will make a statement in St. Louis’ winter landscape.

Heavenly Bamboo

Image credit:

‘Tuscan Flame’ Nandina, commonly known as Heavenly Bamboo, is one of my personal favorite plants to use in the garden. Living in the Midwest, it is critical to consider all four seasons while designing a garden. This compact, but powerful shrub packs a punch through all the seasons. The soft, feathery texture creates airiness in the landscape, while its fiery-red new growth contrasts with the older green-yellow foliage of the shrub’s interior. You’ll see the best effect if you plant it in full sun/part shade in masses along the foundation or as part of a woodland garden. It is important to consider that it does need protection from winter wind, especially in exposed locations.”

– Justin Verbryck, Frisella Nursery Landscape Designer

Variegated Red Twig Dogwood

Image credit:

“I love the variegated Red Twig Dogwood, ‘Cornus sericea,’ ‘Cornus alba,’ and ‘Cornus sanguinea’ because it is a great shrub for all seasons. Its pretty spring flowers become white berries in the fall, attracting birds. The variegated leaves provide interest in summer, but true to its name, the Red Twig Dogwood is known for its amazing show of red stems in the winter. Enjoy its winter beauty as an understory planting or use the stems to make stunning winter and holiday floral arrangements. A versatile shrub, it grows well in full sun or part shade and is drought tolerant.  We carry the ‘Strawberry Daqueri‘ and ‘Ivory Halo’ varieties. I especially like “Ivory Halo‘ for being compact, but still so showy.”

– Bobbie Tracy, Frisella Nursery Landscape Designer


Image credit:

‘BERRY POPPINS’ Female 3-4′ and ‘MR. POPPINS’ Male 3-4′

Ilex verticillata is a great shrub. It has beautiful red berries which attract many types of birds and create a stark, colorful contrast to winter earth tones and white snow. It’s native to the eastern United States and can handle wet soils. Only fertilized female flowers will produce berries, so there needs to be one male for every 6-8 females. The selections of “poppins” are dwarfs that only get to 3-4ft while the species can grow 10 to 15ft. Winterberry is also a great source of food for birds in late winter.”

– Evan Winkler, Frisella Nursery Landscape Designer

Boxwood –

Image credit:

“Before I joined Frisella Nursery, I was the Blanke Boxwood Garden horticulturist at Missouri Botanical Gardens, so I have a love for the old shrubs.  Boxwood, genus ‘Buxus,’ is a broadleaf evergreen that looks great at any time of year. There are many cultivars available, from compact to columnar and even ones with a variegated leaf.  The Boxwoods that Frisella Nursery grows are hardy and can either be pruned to any size or left to grow naturally.”

– Claire Weiss, Frisella Nursery Landscape Designer.

Paperbark Maple

Image Credit:

“The paper-like bark on the trunk and branches of the Paperbark Maple, ‘Acer griseum,’ make it a focal plant in the winter landscape. This tree has a coppery-smooth exfoliating bark (bark that peels like a birch) that demands attention. The leaves do not look like a typical maple leaf, they are a trifoliate leaf, which is a three-prong, individual leaf that makes up the leaflet. They offer distinct differences in shape and the contrast with the bark truly make it a visual asset in the landscape.”

– Tony Frisella Jr., Frisella Nursery Landscape Designer

If you need any help picking out the perfect plant, shrub, or tree for your backyard, don’t hesitate to drop by and see us. We will be happy to show you a few things that will work well for your needs.

Back to top icon Back to Top