the beauty of the winter garden

The garden in winter isn’t traditionally beautiful because it’s about form and structure of your plants and how they adapt to winter. It’s not blooming roses and lilies or flitting butterflies. It’s a lot of brown interspersed with the green of evergreen plants.

I’m sure my neighbors wonder how I can spend so much time wandering my garden in winter. It has been freezing cold, that kind of raw cold mixed with low temperatures that just chills your bones. I am fighting with a cold and yesterday and today the cold, crisp air made me feel better. And I think it’s just a truism with me that whatever is going on, the garden just makes me feel better.

The winter birds have been wonderful this year. In addition to the Cardinals, Juncos, Blue Birds, Carolina Wrens, sparrows and more we seem to have a lot of Blue Jays. And hawks. I see our foxes often in the back in early mornings just before and after dawn.

When I was walking around early this morning, it was the definite extra crunchy sound of really frozen ground. And then when you look at even the rhododendron leaves when it is cold like this the whole plant seems to suck into itself and the leaves curl. It’s fascinating. In the heat of the day everything will open up somewhat, then like an umbrella everything closes as the temperature start to go down and it heads towards night time.

I left some of the hydrangea blossoms on some of the bushes. And they are now somewhat brown and frozen. However they also have the look of lace.

Next week I will walk around with our arborist because I have to plot out the tree health plan for the upcoming warmer weather months. Yes even my plants have a health plan. Part of that health plan for my trees includes spotted lantern fly treatment. I am never wanton with chemicals, but my trees are a big part of what makes my garden special I think, so I take care with them and not just with pruning.

I also ordered some bulbs for the fall. Yes really. I love my older and heirloom varieties and they always sell out fast so you have to place your orders early to ensure getting the bulbs you want.

The little trees I planted before the ground completely froze seem to be doing well. They are a little spots of fluffy green on the landscape of winter. I look at them and imagine what they might look like in a few years provided they survive. Planting anything isn’t a guarantee. And that’s a hard lesson you learn as a gardener. But you also learn if one plant doesn’t work, there’s always room for another one.

As others have encouraged me to plant a garden with winter interest, I encourage all of you to plant a garden that will have winter interest. It’s not your traditional garden season, but it definitely has its own beauty and grace.

Happy gardening and garden dreaming.


  1. Wait for this weekends snow. An artist’s paradise if you can stand the c o l d. Don’t forget to feed the birds and have some unfrozen water out if possible., a hearty stew on the stove!

    Liked by 1 person

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