Diary February 2007 - Garden in Winter

Winter has its own beauty: crisp cold temperatures, big fat snowflakes and ice-coated tree branches. It’s interesting how this website has made me more aware of the garden within these seasons and especially how to watch for photography opportunities! Last Sunday we had one of the first snows of the season. It was one of those gentle snows that just drifted down and started to coat everything. By late afternoon, I could see a few garden areas worth capturing on film!

Let’s take a look why the elements seen here add “winter interest”. Snow has covered the structural elements: the bench, the big boulders and the arbour (known on this website as The Vortex. Check previous diary entries to find out why!). I purposely do not cut down the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, the ‘Fairy’ rose or the background prairie cord grass Spartina cordata so that they too can capture snow and frost.
Many concrete garden ornaments should be taken in to a protected environment over winter because the freezing and thawing temperatures could cause them to crack. But my lovely little girl “Elaine” has survived 10 Ontario winters so far and thank goodness – no damage so far! Doesn’t she look delightful with snow caught in her apron?

And why oh why couldn’t the urns have looked like this at Christmas??

Winter is definitely the season of looking, planning and dreaming about the garden rather than doing things in the garden! Check out new garden books at the Library or at the local bookstore. Renew garden magazine subscriptions and order seed catalogues. Find out the latest garden trends and newest plants. Plan to improve lackluster areas or spots that have gaps.
Marjorie Harris in her book Seasons of My Garden says: “As usual in gardening, I picked up ideas all over the place. I used to call it creative stealing. Now I just think of it as creative. I knew designers who were really good at winter landscaping, and I tried to incorporate their best ideas into my own garden. I wish garden tours weren’t just confined to the summer. This would be a really instructional time to look about.”
Last Monday we had an ice storm. Boy! It was a doozy!! But as I said, what came into my mind was how quickly I could get outside to take some interesting shots! So as soon the weather slowed down a bit, I very carefully edged my way out the door and down the steps to shoot the following pictures.

Winter may not be a gardener’s favourite season but it sure has its own beauty if you look for it!