Thursday, January 20, 2011


"A garden in winter is the absolute test of the true gardener. Fair weather gardeners are to gardens what interior decorators are to buildings-they only know half the story"

My goodness, is that really true? Was Rosemary Verey just talking about garden designers or was she talking about every gardener; the likes of you and me; those of us who can't keep our fingers out of the dirt. We know we haven't quite got it right yet and we keep striving to create something that satisfies us and makes us proud but I believe we think of ourselves as true gardeners. Maybe we haven't yet passed the test.

The winter garden is certainly the most difficult part of the garden year. When plants have gone dormant, and all but disappeared below the soil, what is there to give interest. Evergreens are so important to tide us through the winter months. In Texas we are fortunate to have many such plants, yaupon hollies, live oaks and rosemary bushes to name a few. Then there are the agaves, yuccas and sotols. But even these are still the winter icing on the cake, as flowers are the summer icing. We still need the hardscape around which to plant, the pathways, walls, patios, arbors.
I know I looked out on my winter garden this morning and knew there is much more I could do to improve its appearance at this time of the year. Maybe Rosemary Verey is right. Summer is this easy bit.

"Gardens that look and feel good in winter do not happen by chance; they are the culmination of designs first sketched on paper then considered and perfected."

Now there in lies my problem!


  1. I agree with those sentiments on a winter garden. All emphasis here in ABQ is on making excuses for bad design, calling brown and gray twigs "beautiful" or "tapestries of seasonal interest".

    I think your garden is well-within accomplishing winter interest, it shows both living and dormancy.

    But what a great study to do in various climates, to discover more potential in ea place?

  2. Your garden is lovely summer and winter. Even when you leave for quite a while.

    I have LOTS to do, to make mine into the garden I want.

    I don't put design to paper. Just fly by the seat of my pants, and make it up as I go along. Could that be why it's not yet what I want?...hmmmmm

    Have a good weekend.

  3. I LOVE the second picture in this post! What a fabulous courtyard, sculpted with lush pockets.

    Thanks for stopping by Hill Country Mysteries and commenting. Nice to follow you back here.

  4. Very thoughtful post. Winter is one of my fav seasons in the garden.

    I didn't know you were not already on Blotanical. I know that you are in the queue, welcome.

  5. Hi Jenny.

    This "part" of your garden is so plant-driven, what do you have - a few months of dormancy before it explodes once again with it's crazy color? Blue bonnets are just around the corner after all, and I know how many of those you have!


  6. Oh yeah...your color explosion IS just around the corner...!!!

  7. Your garden will always look good to me with all the hard scape and plants poking up from the cracks between. The yuccas and agaves just make it look that much better. But then I like rocks, yuccas and agaves.