Archive | January, 2012

Opportunities of the Winter Garden

31 Jan

 By Annie Bamberger, Landscape Designer at Dennis’ 7 Dees

Hardscape elements, like retaining walls, shine in the winter.

I have many favorite times in the garden and the winter is one of them.  After the hectic-ness of the holiday season is over and the tempo of life starts to slow down I love having a cup of coffee and walking the garden.  It is the time which the garden has slowed and quieted down.  It does not tell me to do this and that to it. It does not demand anything of me.  Okay, I might have to pull that winter-cress which is the prolific weed of the season.  Overall, it is quiet as I walk through the garden and enjoy a sip of cold air and a sip of a warm beverage.  It feels peaceful and hopeful.

As I sip my coffee I see opportunities.  May it be a need for a new plant to fill that empty spot, recognizing a location for a new structure or a way to apply a newly learned lesson. It is also, the opportunity for those elements that get overlooked in the hurry of other seasons to stand out.  Structural elements play one of their most important parts of a garden at this time of year.  This is the time that a simple arbor, pergola, deck, garden art, or hardscape area speaks to us and says, “Hey look at me.” 

Retaining walls take the stage and show their strength more at this time then when they may be distracted by foliage.  A small hardscape that covers up a dead spot or muddy area in the garden can house a bistro set now and later giving us a sense of repose and a place of tranquility.

There are many plants that take the opportunity to show off in the winter garden.  May it be with architectural structure, from contorted plants like a weeping Japanese maple that has been pruned with the right skill or the bright white bark of the Himalayan Birch which pops in the dark days of winter.  The glowing color of the blades of Acores ‘Ogon’ has a wonderful backdrop of the dark green foliage of Sarcoccoa ruscifolia which has black berries to help out.  Also, the chartreuse foliage color of Choysia ‘Sundance’ can brighten up any planting bed.  The budding potential of Witchhazels, winter blooming Daphne, Hellebores and Pink Dawn Viburnum give me hope and warmth too.

 This is hope that I feel from the plant that this is their opportunity to shine and be loved.  So have a cup of something warm and feel the opportunity that exists in a winter garden.

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