Now that the hemlocks are gone, the forest on our mountain top is completely deciduous. There is a lack of understory shrubberies in general and I only got a few of the native rhododendrons. Everything else is herbaceous. In the winter, it's all bare trees and dried remnants.
Dried remnants have a certain charm, but not enough to take you through five months of the barren time. After a few snows they are pretty much done anyway.
I realized quickly there was going to be a need for plants that remained through the winter. The native sedges are good about staying green all winter and this unknown variegated sedge that was tossed from a pot and rescued has also been reliably evergreen. It may be time to start dividing it.
I need more than green groundcovers though. The back bone and real structure of a winter garden is growing. I think we are on year three of creep now. I want some leap. The bamboo and a baby pine will be big one day. I'm sure there are a number of reasons for the delayed leap; partial shade, rocky soil, cool summers, short season and competition from the Lush. I don't fertilize things either. I want tough plants adapted to their conditions.
More shade and more rocks makes for even slower bamboo. One day soon I hope it will offer some screening from the scenic byway just above.
Hidden in the miscanthus is a Bird's Nest Spruce. For a dwarf shrub it has actually grown quite a bit in the four years it has been in the ground, enough that come spring I need to remove the nearest clump of grass.
Another dwarf, the Mugo Pine is another slow grower. It can get 6x 6 in time. The yuccas are speedy by comparison. They were little 4 inch pots when I bought them.
For now I have to imagine mature sizes. I have to imagine the garden that will become.
Blue Star Junipers will grow to help cover the slope below the cozy cabin. The two big ones were planted about three years ago. The smaller ones were planted this spring. I work towards a low mounding tapestry of texture and color on this wide expanse of hillside.
There is quite a bit of future garden that is hidden in the Lush during the season of vegetation. This is the time of year when I can really see how they have done for the season and can plot more additions. One day the Lush will lap at the feet of a real garden and winter won't be such a shocking transition.