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Winter Views

Garden designers suggest that a third of garden plants should be evergreen so that there is winter interest.


Photo: by Anne G (flickr)

A frosty back yard.

Look out of your windows and analyze the views you see now that winter has an iron grip on your garden. The absence of soft growth reveals the garden’s bones. What do you think about what you see?

A formal garden frequently relies on symmetry in all seasons, but an informal garden may need some tweaking to boost its appeal when there are no leaves or flowers to define the planting areas.

Garden designers suggest that a third of garden plants should be evergreen so that there is winter interest, but the placement, as well as the proportion of these types of plantings, is a significant factor to consider.

  • Do you have pleasing evergreen shapes and/or repetition of shapes that you like?
  • Does your space need a more organized structural pattern, such as a central axis or intersection of the paths?
  • Are there satisfying focal points in the snowy landscape?
  • Is there enough variety as well as similarity in the colors and textures?
  • Would a straight line or sinuous arc of evergreens, or a low stone wall add grounding elements to the scene?
  • What about the scale?
  • Is that dinky bird bath too small in the middle of that large expanse of space or that huge pot too overpowering on that small patio?
  • Are the bird feeders in good repair and placed so the birds can be seen from the house?

Winter has a subtle color palette, it is true, but make sure there are some berries and bark in evidence and that the colors of any other structures or bits and pieces of decoration meld with those of the color and style of the home.

Be sure to remove the Halloween pumpkin before it freezes solid and any bits of trash that could mar the pristine beauty of your very own winter wonderland.

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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