I stare out the window each morning over coffee, and my thoughts can’t help but speed ahead to the warm days of spring and the first buds to pop. I would find it hard to fight these feelings of longing, were it not for the plants in the garden that provide me with something to enjoy during these stark cold days, plants that display something that gives them winter interest. Consider the elegant trunk of a large Beech Tree, the whimsical shape of a Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, the elegant evergreen foliage of a False Cypress, or any of the many shrubs that produce fruit and attract wildlife. These plants provide for me, a feast for the senses.
When winter blankets our gardens and leaves us feeling confined and isolated, our gardens are eagerly exposing their bones, sending us an invitation to venture out into the cold to experience a wonderland of sights and sounds. For those of us who prefer not to accept that invitation, the placement of a plant with winter interest within sight of a special window, will provide enjoyment from within the warm confines of the home. Imagine sipping on a hot cup of coffee each morning or sharing late afternoon refreshments with a close friend or two, overlooking a beautiful vignette of ornamental grass covered with snow and back lit by the sun. Breathtaking!
Winter plant interest has taken a back seat to all the new and beautiful foliage and blossom introductions that flood the market each year, but let us also remember to focus on those plants that provide something for us, even as we are forgetting that they are still out there. As you begin to think about your spring projects and plan for new plants, ask yourself what special quality they will provide come winter, and where will they best be viewed. You’ll be glad you did, come next February.
For a fun project, spend a little time during this cold snowy winter exploring your garden. Look at its structure and its plants, determine areas of interest, and even if there are areas of interest. Take a camera with you and snap a few random shots in different directions, then study the photos. Often you will see things in these photos that were not as obvious to the naked eye. Having a photo will also get you back inside and back to that hot cup of coffee!
Here’s hoping you enjoy your winter wonderland,