In the winter, the “Bones of the Garden” are finally revealed. Without the distractions of flowers, seasonal ornamental accents and the like, you are able to discern the basic canvas for your next season planning. The recent rain, sunlight and warmer temperatures (well relatively so…the temperatures more “seasonal” versus subzero) have melted a bit of the snow cover here in our area. So the bones are revealed.
I often speak of garden bones with my customers when assessing properties for new installations. It is a great way for them to visualize those elements that will give the basic form of the garden. Such elements sustain through every season of the year. I consider bones to be trees, shrubs, and stationary features such as water elements, large statuaries, sheds,arbors, fence lines and rocks. Without the presence of your seasonal plant material, these elements can offer insight for design. The seasonal emptiness between the bones provide a real vision of garden length and width.
Looking out at the landscape you can see contours of height and depth. So why not take this opportunity to work off this natural framework for your 2014 garden plan. I find this a great solution for problematic areas as well as entertaining new design ideas. Head outdoors and take a picture of your target area. Although my winter landscape picture offered here has significant snow cover, I was able to detect the need to re-plumb my garden pathway accent! During the busy growing season with bedding distractions, I totally missed the settling of my ornamental gate. So first thing in the spring I need to get out there with my level and post hole digger!
Print the landscape picture and begin retooling with your pencil. If you have a tablet, try using the pen ultimate black line drawing app. Pen ultimate is a bit sensitive. Will take some getting used to with your tablet stylus. But winter is a great time to work your creative juices undisturbed by the colors and textures of your seasonal plant materials.
And now that your plant ordering catalogs are filling up your mailboxes, what a great time to apply your 2014 wishlist to your actual geography. Happy planning!