The Window Garden View
I don’t know about you but most days I don’t get the chance to spend countless hours out enjoying my garden. The majority of the time my garden view comes through my windows. Maybe I get a chance to sit down for my cup of coffee before work or as I brush my teeth in the morning. This view of the garden is important normally but during the winter months it’s crucial if your going to enjoy your winter garden at all. I know in the winter months in New York I rarely saw my gardens as it was dark when I left for work and when I returned. If you create a plan during the warm season you can create a wonderful winter landscape using your plants and objects, both large and small. Remember as Summer turns to Fall and the leafs hit the ground distant views you haven’t seen all year will reappear and the winter landscape will come into focus.
During the warmer months deciduous shrubs and trees and evergreens are certainly important aspects of any garden, and during the winter they are the building blocks of a winter garden. Using a Dogwood with its young red branches, like Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ can create a bold statement against freshly fallen white snow. The gleaming white trunk of a Himalayan birch can be used as a point of interest in our winter garden.
When the deciduous vines growing over your your walls and trellises begin to loose their leaves the naked surfaces begin to show. If you you put choose wisely with your trellises then you have an added feature to enjoy during the winter. If you have exposed brick behind ivy you will have a unique look that say this home is in hibernation Using evergreens to build a hedge will offer a solid structure throughout the winter months, but using deciduous plants is vital as well. Ornamental grasses although having turned brown and entered hibernation can still offer structure and a vertical presence in the winter garden. Using tree’s like hornbeam and beech for their dried out leaves can give an exciting effect in winter as they fade to a soothing tan color seen on gray days.
Winter Garden Structures
Using sculptures and other garden ornaments in the winter can add bring your winter garden to life in ways that plants just can not. Using trellis or arbors with climbers like clematis and ivy can become focal points. Using metal arches along with these climbers also add stark contrast to the white snow on the ground. Even large urns or container garden that have long sense past offer structure with pleasing shapes. I really enjoy using statues in the garden, during the winter months it lets you see their is a garden waiting to rise once the snow melts away.
Winter Garden Plants
Closer to the house shrubs and perennials that flower in the winter add a splash of color. There are a select number of evergreens that offer silver or purple leaves and some even posses variegated foliage in gold and cream; perennials with leaves that stay on overwinter can add shades of bronze, claret, and purple. Gardeners who use plants like these know that gardening in the winter without color is just a myth and their gardens don’t have to be dull and drab but can be enjoyed.
A great joy to winter gardeners is when the first flowers begin to arrive. White snowdrops, sugar-pink cyclamen, and canary-yellow aconites are all stars of winter bulbs. The bulbs should be planted close enough to the house so that they can be seen without going out into the cold. After those bulbs pass they will be followed by Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger, for Zones 4-8), their cream colored cups with yellow stamens, and then come Lenten rose (Hellebors X hybridus, for Zones 5-8) with their deep pruples, reds, and pinks. Winter blooming plants don’t only refer to bulbs, higher off the ground you can find pastel pink viburnums, dazzeling yellow jasmine, and the shimmer of yellow witch hazel all winter flowering shrubs.
With proper planning a winter garden can evolve through the winter just like points of interest change throughout the summer in the garden.
Read our winter garden history article.
Do you have any winter gardening tips you can share with us?
Some Good Reading About Winter Gardens