Winter in My Southern Alberta Native Garden

Piet Oudolf said it best: “Brown is also a color!” He was, of course, referring to the beauty that can be found in the winter garden. The textural elements are even more obvious in the winter, which adds so much interest to a fairly monochromatic scene.

These are some tried and true, hearty winter plants that can handle our Southern Alberta weather and still look good. The weather changes so dramatically at times; a couple of days ago it literally went from -20 to +5 (celcius) within an hours’ time.

Also what’s impressive is the lack of deer browse on these following plants. (Others have fared not as well…even the very prickly non-native evergreen shrubs I have planted right next to the house!)

Little Bluestem

LIttle Bluestem in the winter native garden in southern Alberta.

Little Bluestem. My favorite native grass! It’s been holding up exceptionally well to heavy winter snow and winds and everything else this crazy southern Alberta weather can throw at us.

Blackeyed Susan

Blackeyed Susan seed heads with a backdrop of little Bluestem and snow in a southern Alberta native wildflower garden.

Blackeyed Susan with Little Bluestem in the background.

Blue Flax

Blue flax stems and seedheads in the snow in a southern Alberta native wildflower garden.

Blue Flax. Wispy stems with unique little round seedheads add a lot of interest to the winter garden. Plus they’re surprisingly sturdy!

Blue Oat Grass

Blue Oat Grass in the winter in the snow in a garden in Southern Alberta.

Blue Oat Grass. A beautifully delicate spiky non-native grass.


Dill seedheads in the snowy winter in a Southern Alberta garden.

Some leftover stalks of dill in my vegetable garden! I leave some to reseed each year. Last spring I discovered dill growing throughout my entire garden, so this fall I cut off the majority of the seed heads to avoid an overabundance of dill next year. Lesson learned!


Goldenrod seedhead in the snow in a southern Alberta native wildflower garden.

This is Spike Goldenrod. The delicate little seedheads look like adorable flowers, and there are a few fluffy tufts of seeds still attached. Lots of texture and interest here!

In Conclusion

This is just a tiny snippet of my winter gardens, but I love how much beauty can be found even when everything is dead and brown. I hope you’re inspired to find beauty in your winter garden as well!

(full disclosure: although I’m able to find beauty all over in the winter garden, I’m definitely longing for spring and getting some dirt on my shirt! Haha)

Happy Gardening!