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The Central Valley Garden in Winter

Articles: The Central Valley Garden in Winter

Washington thorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum). Photograph by Ellen Zagory

In California’s Central Valley, the onset of winter’s cool, wet weather marks the beginning of the growing season for California native and mediterranean climate plants. Comparable to early spring in colder, continental climates, this is the season when root growth begins and summer drought-adapted plants emerge from dormancy, leafing out and, in some cases, bursting into bloom. A quiet, gray winter day, when the fog is lying low in the valley, is a perfect time to walk in the garden and see things that may go unobserved in summer. Instead of masses of flowers and industrious pollinators, winter highlights include ornamental tree bark, clusters of glossy berries, and interesting plant forms and foliage. As an added bonus, winter gardens are alive with the calls and movement of migrating birds.

Winter daphne (Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’). Photograph by Saxon Holt

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