Wednesday, January 7, 2015

THE WINTER GARDEN

I read today two articles on Garden Rant about winter gardens, Forcing Winter Interest,  and The Myth of Winter Interest 

They made me think about the photo I took last week of my winter front courtyard garden. A garden which rarely sees snow but which does suffer from freezing temperatures which bow many plants into submission. If we did have snow I like to think it would add even more interest. I am happy with my winter courtyard garden.

My front garden doesn't seem to change much from summer to winter. I think that is because it relies mainly on hardscape and structural plants. It's my easy going garden, depending largely upon the seeding of grasses, skullcaps and blackfoot daisies to tone down the gravel and rocks.


That's not to say that it is completely devoid of color as in spring there will be a bounty of bluebonnets which are already settling in for possibly one of the coldest nights of the year tonight. There will be coneflowers and native clematis and in April the wonderful Lady banks rose. I wonder how long I will be able to keep that big beauty?
There are other parts of my garden which disappoint me in the winter. One of these is my sunken garden. There should be lots of interest with level changes and there are the structural plants but maybe not as many as there should be to keep me happy.


This garden shines in the spring and fall with masses of color but winter it loses some zip. It has been brought to my attention and I will think more about the winter garden next spring.

Are you happy with your winter garden?



16 comments:

  1. Jenny, how can you not be happy with that garden? It's a thing of beauty, even in its winter form. So lovely!

    (Hope the cold doesn't bite you too hard!)

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  2. Why would you not be able to keep your beautiful lady banks rose? Your garden is wonderful and such an inspiration!

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    1. The problem is, it getting too big and I am a terrible pruner. I know how big it can become having seen the one at the Rose Museum in Tombstone.

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  3. In the winter, most of my interest is in hurrying back through to spring (does that count?). More seriously, since we have predominately live oaks overhead, the winter interest here mostly comes from the revelation of support features (hello Mr. Trellis!) in combination with an opening up of negative spaces that aren't visible until after a hard freeze. And for us, that hard freeze came last night. After a day or so I'll be out assessing damage to the more tender agaves and trim-trim-trimming to neaten up around the survivors.

    While I too feel that your gardens are a delight to the eye year 'round, it is your prerogative as The Gardener to gaze around with more an editor's eye. While the rest of us simply look at what you've already done with deep appreciation, as the creator of these spaces it is natural for you to see work yet to be done. Perhaps that is the gift we gardeners can all give each other - the approving eyes of a visitor!

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  4. Your front garden looks quite nice in winter, with all that structure and textural plants! I am realizing this winter that I need a lot more structure, just so it doesn't look so barren. I'm up North, so there's not a lot going on in the garden for several cold, snowy months except for structure! I do appreciate all the different, lovely shapes and masses of evergreens in other people's yard and am going to put some more in my garden this year.

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  5. I'm much happier with your winter garden than mine. It looks beautiful, and I'd gladly stare out the window at it :)

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  6. You have a lot of structure and green plants in both spaces. I'd be interested to see what you come up with for more zip in the winter.

    Like yours, my front garden changes little from season to season and that's by design. I don't mind seeing the back garden taking a winter break. Winter interest was much more important when we lived in New England and other regions where winter lasts far longer than summer.

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  7. Jenny, I don't think I've ever seen a less than beautiful photo of your garden. It looks great in all seasons and I like seeing the structure of your garden, which is more evident in winter than when the flowers erupt in spring. Although we don't experience the cold or freeze risk you do, my winter garden always seems subdued too - there's less in bloom and lots of pruning means plants don't look their best. In the past, my inclination has been to hunt down more winter bloomers (of which there are plenty here) but I think I'd probably be better served investing in more structural plants.

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  8. The answer is no, I am never satisfied with my garden. Yours looks good for a winter with cold. See a fuller answer to your question here: http://janestrong.blogspot.com/

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  9. Oh pishaw - your garden looks positively gorgeous in all of the seasons.

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  10. I am generally happy with my winter garden especially when the snow is not too deep and you can still see rocks and shrubs. I don't think I've ever sen a picture of your garden where I did not think it was perfect. I'm sure that's partly because I don't have the same kind of climate/plant issues and can't make the same kind of educated judgments I can for a garden in my area.

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  11. Your garden looks wonderful, even in winter. As you say, the hardscaping and structural plants give it interest all year round. My winter garden is a waterlogged mess at the moment. And it's full of dead annuals that need to get pulled out but I haven't got around to, because it's been cold and wet.

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  12. You're right, your garden is gorgeous at every season!

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  13. I'm generally happy with my winter garden, probably because I have so many evergreens that, like your front garden, it doesn't change dramatically from summer to winter. That was intentional, as I wanted a lower-maintenance garden this time around. At any rate, I think your gardens are lovely in any season. But I certainly understand the gardener's itch to make things even better.

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  14. I love your winter garden! Much more beautiful than my struggling indoor herb garden. While you're thinking about next year's winter garden, you might want to play with the LikeThat Garden app. You can take photos of flowers you like and the app will tell you their names: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/likethat-garden-flower-identification/id957861141?mt=8

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