Thoughts On Color In The Winter Garden
The winter garden is visually perceived as only having shades of brown and green, dormant is the term most often used in the horticultural world.
I urge folks to go outside in the winter , take a walk, walk in the woods, the park or in your own backyard. Enjoy more than just the briskness of the air and the sound of the leaves beneath your feet. Instead pay attention to the colors that are still surrounding you – even in the midst of winter.
If you take a look at the shades of rusty red, shimmering golds, deep velvety greens and frosty blue/greys that accent the winter garden, you would begin to realize that winter is merely Act IV of the play called “The Garden”. A few plants that come to mind to embrace this thought are as follows:
Rusty Reds – Larch, Red Twig Dogwood, Epimediums, Nandina;
Shimmering Golds – Golden D’Odor Cedar, Variegated Euonymous, Yellow Twig Dogwood, Gold Mop Cypress;
Deep Velvety Greens – Camellias, Winter Gem Boxwood’s, Curly Leaved Ligustrum, Native Hollies:
Lastly the Frosty Blue/Grey’s – Caryopteris, Artemesia’s, Perovska, Blue Atlas Cedars
It is truly amazing how winter’s chill enhances the landscape. A shrub that is not a focal point throughout the rest of the year is rarely noticed when the garden is in full bloom. I actually embrace the winter garden and it’s nakedness – yet colorful beauty. One can see the structure of certain plant material (usually trees and shrubs) and can visualize how to enhance or expand an existing flower bed.
As I walk through my front garden, on the left side, the knobby limbs of three tree peonies stand tall amidst a mulched perennial flower bed. The window box over flowing with orange and purple pansies and the deep green liriope skirt that caresses the front of the short walk way leading to the parking pad, are the only touches of color on this side.
On the right side, two Camellia’s stand like body guards beside the chartreuse branches of the weeping Japanese maple, which actually pop with color against the white walls of my cottage. A sleeping cherub statue rests at the base of this dwarf tree amidst a sea of ruby leaved Epimedeum’s, deep mocha leaved heuchera’s, bright green ruffled leaves of English Primrose and Hellebore Orientalis (both of which are in bloom) and honey brown fern leaves. The Japanese maple, whose maze of branches appears to be protecting the invisible inhabitants – ginger, astible, assorted hosta and bleeding heart – has the two Camellia’s that flank each side, while attempting to hold onto the fading pink blossoms from the season past.
This is like intermission at the theater….you know the next act will complete the show. Subtle color in the winter garden peaks ones interest of things to come….by