The Winter Garden

The leafless time of year is actually a good time to assess your garden. You can plainly see what is working for you and what is not.

A good garden plan considers your view for every season. Sure, you want a bright beautiful Spring and Summer garden just like everyone else, but you also want your garden to provide a view that will distract you from the grey skies in the middle of the Winter too. This is why you need to think about what trees, bushes and perennials will give you a lovely view no matter the season.

These photos are of the same five Cornus Alba (Dogwood) bushes through the stages of each Season, beginning from top – Mid-Winter, next is early, mid and late Fall, Spring, and last are photos from Mid-Summer. This bush grows up to 10 feet tall, has white spring blooms, blooms again at least once more in Summer, turns glorious rust in Fall and has crimson branches in the Winter. I have trimmed them to make them look like small trees, otherwise they would have dominated our small yard.  They are plentiful in our area, so also very affordable.

Decades ago people planted basic evergreen bushes for winter color and being plentiful, they were probably pretty affordable. Everyone had them. Pretty much everyone’s yards all looked the same and everyone spent their weekends trimming them too. They were high maintenance and they were boring.  Fast forward to the 21st century and we have a lot more to choose from our local nurseries. You can even order bare root plants delivered right to your front door from nurseries that grown their own stock.

This is a Hydrangea bush. It’s awesome in the winter. Who knew so many different shades of brown could be in one flower, and that it would look beautiful? Here is a photo of the same plant in fall and summer.

Take a few minutes to look at the view from inside your home. These cold winter months maybe you’re nestled inside on your couch, but that doesn’t mean the view doesn’t have to be interesting.

This is the view of a Viburnum from inside, in the dead of  Winter.

IMG_0949This the same Viburnum in the Spring. The view is beautiful from insider as well as outside.

You can take the time now when things are a little slower paced to do a visual inventory of your garden view, from inside and out. Take a few notes. Where would the placement of just one bush add color and texture your garden view?

It also helps to have a garden buddy who looks good in every season, and doesn’t mind the heat or the cold.

If it’s Winter in your neck of the woods, I hope you’re warm and cozy. If it’s not Winter by you, I hope it’s not too hot and you’re out enjoying your garden.

Published by

Laurine Byrne

I am a Landscape Designer, receiving my training from Northwestern University in Chicago. I am also a Master Gardener, receiving my training at the University of Illinois through their Extension Program. I love every type of garden, everywhere, and in every season.

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