Although the snow and ice have blanketed my gardens for weeks now, I still find much to keep my interest. This is the time of year when my “bones of the garden” emerge The lively colors and textures of my three season plants are now sleeping for the winter and my landscape consists purely of my background structures. With a little foresight in design and selection, you can find joy and inspiration in your winter garden.
Bare branches of the leaf bearing trees make for a striking silhouette against our common grey skies of winter. Select a native red twig dogwood shrub, and you can add a beautiful red branch contrast to the landscape. Even my old burning bushes provide a reddish color to my backgrounds with their tiny red berries.
I love my majestic hemlocks at the back border of my sleeping gardens. These are especially beautiful after new fallen snow. On a smaller scare, I can look out my kitchen window each morning to my little weeping hemlock tucked between my water gardens. Although our hollies have taken quite a beating over the past few years in our region, I still choose to use them in my gardenscapes. Their glossy leaves and red berries sure do provide a bright spot in the snow.
I purposely avoid trimming certain shrubs, perennials and grasses in the fall to be able to see the stems and seed heads poke out throughout the winter. Hydrangea mopheads left on their branches give a bit of garden texture to new fallen snow. Cone flowers are especially sturdy to withstand the ice and snow. They also serve as a food source for many of our winter birds. Keeping my bird feeder filled also provides me visits from cardinals and sparrows. My dense winter evergreens provides shelter for the sparrows. Their chatter is welcome outdoors this time of year. At night I am especially fond of hearing my owl family calling out in the backyard. The old tree trunks on my property periphery serve as homes for them.
Garden accents such as bird houses, decks with pergolas, ceramic pots and other garden whimsy, lend some character to the snow blanketed gardens throughout the long winter months. Take a good look out your windows this winter. Is there anything that makes you smile? If not, consider plants and garden structures that will reward you with a winter wonderland garden in the coming year.
As always, “keeping common sense and sustainability firmly rooted in my garden practices “. For more sustainable gardening practices and local workshop offerings please visit my website: www.gardengoddesssenseandsustainability.com