A pink Lenten rose bloom.

Lenten roses offer evergreen leaves and blooms in winter.

Winter is a bare-naked time for residential landscapes. The deciduous trees have lost their leaves, looking like witches’ bony fingers reaching for the sky. The “bones” of your yard can be intimidating, or they can become a blank canvas for adding winter interest and color.

If you want to add winter color and an evergreen backdrop, visit a local nursery or go online to order camellias. Blooming from late October until early March, depending on the variety, they are easy to grow, require little maintenance once established and can provide years of beautiful blooms and a constant evergreen backdrop for your yard.

A true Southern plant, camellias originated in Asia. Choose from sasanquas, which bloom between late October into January and have an open growth habit, and japonicas, which bloom from December through March and have a tighter shape with larger leaves. Both have glossy foliage and both have multiple flower forms.

Check out Wilson Brothers Nursery in McDonough, wilsonbrosnursery.com, which sells through mail-order only. It offers an array of both types of camellias in colors ranging from pure white to various shades of pink and red in solid colors as well as variegated blossoms. It’s hard to decide which camellias to order. Best of all shipping is free!

For other winter-blooming plants, consider Lenten roses, also known as hellebores. Their palmate leaves are evergreen and the winter blooms can range from whites and pinks to deep purple and even green. They’re deer-resistant, slow growers and over time will self-seed and multiply.

Edgeworthia, Chinese paper plant, is a fragrant January bloomer with clusters of nosegay-like yellow and white blossoms. Deer-resistant, once established the shrubs can grow as tall and wide as 8- by 8-feet. You can smell the deep fragrance for several hundred feet. Edgeworthia holds its green foliage until late fall, when the leaves drop to make way for the hundreds of flower clusters.

Pay attention to trees

Winter is an ideal time to remove or thin pines, hardwoods and sweet-gum trees. Professional arborists and tree specialists, such as Arbor One in Buford, can come in and remove dead branches, raise canopies to allow more light for your lawn and garden, plus take out sweetgums or pines that may be a hazard to your home in high winds.

Consider removing nuisance trees and replacing them with evergreens or shrubs with interesting textures and foliage. And if you have troublesome trees on the borders of your property, go ahead and get them removed before they fall onto your neighbors’ yard, fence or home.

Photo: by Pamela A. Keene