The Charmed Garden

From Planning to Planting, and from Harvest to Table.


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More Winter Garden Planning

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Continuing on the theme of winter walks as a place to find your vision for planning your garden, today I took a walk with my dog through Lake Katherine in Palos Heights, Illinois. Amazingly it’s just 15 minutes from my house. The path around the lake, not the falls, is just one mile.  At the beginning and the end of the path are the houses, one with a little nature museum and the other a place for parties.  Also at the beginning and the end, are the water falls which help keep the water in the man-made lake aerated.

Along the way I took pictures to show how you can take inspiration from large gardens and bring them home to your own gardens.  Lake Katherine’s garden walk is curvilinear following the natural curves of the lake.

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As you  walk around the lake you  pass different types of gardens carved out of the landscape. There is a raised bed herb garden right next to a perennial flower garden.

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This is the perennial flower garden bed edged with large natural stones. The natural stones create a slightly raised bed, keeping the goodies in the dirt from washing away with the rain or melting snow.

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This entrance to the Lake Katherine gardens is still gorgeous even in winter.

A well designed garden entryway will shine in every season. The red  color of the bridge is complimented by the red twig dogwoods on both sides of the side walk.The height of the tree anchors the bridge to the garden. The natural stone edging outlining the curve of the garden ties the different elements of the garden together. The light color of the  edging stones contrasts with the color of the bridge, the plants in the garden,  and the grass. This highlights the shape of the garden, and really catches your eye this time of year.

Here is a view of the garden from the other side. Note that the sidewalk is circular where the tree is and the edging follows the curve of the sidewalk.

Your entryway certainly doesn’t have to include a bridge. You can have a pergola, an arbor, a gate, or just a simple edged path with bushes on each side. No matter what structure you choose,  the design principles are still the same. The garden around the sidewalk before the bridge is very doable!  An edged curvilinear bed with some bushes and a tree. This you can do!!!   Just a few key things to remember: 1) choose the right plants for the site (sun, sun/shade, or shade); 2) just the right size plants for your bed: and 3) choose the right number of plants for your bed.

Start with something that has structure and/or color during the winter months

Same backyard, four different seasons.  No large pergola or gate, just a simple metal arbor at the entrance to the backyard garden. The stone patio has a curvilinear design and the plants accent or anchor the design. Boxwoods on the side of the arbor are green during the winter and stand up to a lot, I mean a lot, of snow. The dogwoods along the fence are red all winter long.

Next week I will go over how to layout a basic design and then how to fill it.

Until then . . .

keep looking for the path that speaks to you.

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