Gardens without Flowers

Both private and public landscapes should captivate our senses during all four seasons of the year.

berries covered in snow

Photo: Joshua Davis

There may also be colorful berries or rose hips to catch our eye.

December is a month where the weather makes us spend more time indoors, and our garden landscapes are more static. But some mornings after a heavy frost or light snow we may stop on the way to our car to admire the patterns of white on the foliage plants. There may also be colorful berries or rose hips to catch our eye.

Belgian landscape architect, Jacques Wirtz, emphasizes that both private and public landscapes should captivate our senses during all four seasons of the year. He has not only a deep knowledge of plants and flowers, but also understands light and shadows. He says that a garden that is not beautiful in every season is not a beautiful garden.

Beauty In Every Season

He favors trees with strong branch systems and defined forms even when they are leafless. He talks about the parallels between structure in landscapes and in music. Like musical compositions placing landscapes must demonstrate proportion, good sequencing, contrast, rhythm, repetition, theme and variations.

In our Midwestern landscapes it is often recommended that we have evergreens form a third of our major plantings. Evergreens come in diverse sizes and shapes and with green, grey and golden hues. Hedges of them can frame spaces or form sinuous curves, and specimens can punctuate or repeat. They anchor landscapes until the flowers return.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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