How to Create a Cozy Winter Garden


Winter GardenAs gardeners we seem to be under the impression that we need to close the book on gardening at seasons end. If you have followed my blog posts you know I do not hold with that theory.

I believe gardening is a passionate hobby that should be pursued year round. Even those of us in the north, with our cold and snowy winters, can enjoy gardening all year.

There is no reason that our lawn and garden should not be just as visually appealing in the winter as it is in the warmer seasons. We simply have to take the time to plant for winter effect, as well as summer effect.

We may not be able to have flowers in the winter months but we can have beautiful colors. The winter landscape, although beautiful in its own respects, can be very cold and mundane with the lack of floral colors.

There is always a beauty associated with a snow covered landscape. How much more beautiful it would be with a subtle touch of color. Fortunately there are many terrific ways to add the touches of brightness to the winter landscape, making it just as appealing as in the summer months.

The properly planned winter garden actually boasts many attractive features the summer garden lacks. Truly we never tire of the colorful foliage and blooms of the summer garden, it’s one of natures most picturesque displays. But the winter garden is equally as beautiful and suggests a breadth and distance that adds wonderfully to the charm of the garden scene.

The bare branches against the clear winter sky and the vastness of the open spaces, once obscured by the foliage of summer, lend their own subtle beauty to the scene.

Evergreens are among the most beautiful trees and shrubs for planting in the winter garden. Their bright green branches covered in snow are one of natures finest etchings. The brilliant contrast of color can be breathtaking, especially when the evergreens are planted in areas they will be the most visually effective.

All too often gardeners will plant evergreens around their homes, with little thought to the most visually effective location. We often place them where they have no chance to display their winter charms effectively. Evergreens planted for winter beauty are most magnificent when planted at a distance from the house. In this way the beautiful contrast of color comes alive.

Every good specimen of evergreen will present a beautiful winter picture on its own. But an even more spectacular scene can be created when evergreens are presented in just the right way. Why not let our evergreens serve as backgrounds against which to bring out colors that rival, to some extent, the flowers of summer?

Have you ever walked along the edge of a wooded area in the winter, to suddenly come upon a group of Alders? How bright their spikes of scarlet berries radiated. The color is as intense as that of a flame, seeming to radiate warmth through the winter air. They leave such a strikingly visual impression we can envision it long after we have passed it by. Truly a picturesque scene, one we could easily recreate and enjoy in our own winter landscape. The Alders scarlet fire, presented against a dark green background of our evergreens, will make the winter garden glow with brilliant color.

The Red Branched Willow also presents a spectacular winter scene when positioned against a backdrop of evergreens. The contrast of color brought out by every branch appears as though chiseled from coral. The effect is visually spectacular!

A properly placed planting of Bittersweet, with its clusters of red and orange contrasted against a background of evergreens, produces an effect unrivaled by many flowers.

The Bayberry is another beautiful winter shrub. Grayish-white berries are studded along its rich brown branches, retained throughout the winter months. Planted side by side with the Alder, the effect is magnificently pleasing.

There are many other shrubs that display berries of blue, purple and black. Not as spectacular as those of scarlet, they are still extremely beautiful when planted for maximum visual appeal. Combining these additional colors to your winter landscape will widen the range of color and tone in your garden.

Next spring when you contemplate the years plantings, remember to keep an eye open for the coming winter. What will your landscape look like when the trees are bare, snow blanketing the world in white? What would it look like with an evergreen here? Or maybe a couple over there? And maybe an Alder here? Now you’re getting the idea. Don’t stop enjoying the garden just because the days grow shorter and the weather turns colder. The joy of gardening is a year-round delight.

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