February 2, 2015
Beauty in the Winter Garden
Finding beauty in the winter garden requires a closer look, but the muted colors and contrasting forms have a quiet loveliness of their own. A 'Blue Dart' rush (Juncus) above still holds its green-blue color near the end of winter, with interesting brown seed heads attached near the top. This plant is late to awaken, so I don't cut it back to the ground until early spring.
'Blue Star' junipers hold their steel-blue color all year, which makes a nice contrast to the 'Green Tower' boxwood nearby.
The curving edges of the beds can be appreciated all year long, and of course the large stones are a welcome presence in winter and summer.
'Wee Willie' boxwoods stay green better than any of the other varieties of boxwood in my garden. The basalt column is lovely with or without a dusting of snow.
It is harder to find beauty in the younger backyard landscape since the evergreens are still so small. But these little 'Thumbelina Leigh' lavender shrubs have filled out their space in front of a boulder, and the limber stems of the vigorous dwarf Arctic willow make a nice backdrop.
My two 'Scallywag' holly shrubs lost a lot of lower leaves last year as they struggled to get established, but they have held up well to winter weather.
I find myself wishing for more boulders in winter. They are the ultimate low maintenance addition to the garden!
It has been a pleasant surprise to find that 'Peach Sorbet' blueberries are nearly evergreen, with interesting shades of red and maroon and green on the leaves all winter.
Our winter has been milder than normal and spring seems near, especially as a flock of twenty robins has come to play around our backyard throughout the past week. Some sort of black bird and little finches join in the fun. We have delighted in watching them hop and flutter all over, chasing each other and squawking just as my children do when they play. They drink and play in the birdbaths, munch on some tiny crabapples from the 'Royal Raindrops' trees, then play some more.
Just yesterday the number of birds swelled to the hundreds. We were amazed and gave up counting. You can see a few birds in the photo above, and there were many, many more perched in the other trees around our yard and in the tall aspens that grow next to our fence in the neighbor's yard. Two weeks ago these trees were covered with thousands of tiny crabapples, and now they are stripped bare. I hope some of the birds stick around for the spring and summer, too. But at least they have been a beautiful addition to the winter garden.