Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What The Winter Garden Needs

For all my whining about the world of brown sticks you might not know there are two pockets of landscaping that hold winter interest quite well in the ridge top garden. One is just below the deck of the resident gardeners house. A strong planting of evergreens mixed with several deciduous shrubs contains a nice mix of plant size, form and color to give winter weary eyes something to contemplate while the forest rests for the winter.

A dash of sculpture contributes to the scene.

One thing these two pockets of evergreens have in common is they are located in openings of the forest canopy that get more sun.

Even in winter I don't do cooped up in the house all day very well. If all I get is a short stroll outside for the day it is better than nothing, no matter the weather. Crawford is checking out the newly reopened path through the front conifer collection. Twenty five years of growth was working to seal off this path. Some judicious pruning was in order.

In this high southern winter where it can be snow covered and frozen one day and allegedly warm the next, actual chores can be done in the garden throughout the year. Several layers of clothing may be required, but it is actually possible to go outside and work or stroll through the garden in relative comfort on a good many days.

Over the next few months I will continue to pick up sticks and begin the process of cutting down the standing dried stalks of the perennial wildflowers that refuse to be flattened on their own.

The winter garden needs to pull me outside and give me a reason to enter. I have a bit more sun at my place from all the utility lines running through. Thinning the forest will give me even more. Instead of small pockets that have winter interest, it should be easier for me to create a garden that works year round and proclaims its garden-ness over the entire space, even in the brown stick world of winter. The better to lure me outside to wander and putter when it is cold.


Anonymous said...

The greenery below the deck looks good. I love to wonder down paths just to see what is beyond.
I agree that even in the cold of winter it is good just to take a stroll. I did that quite often when I was there---always in the woods. I did find some of the name not mentioned growing & I did keep a keen eye on it. It's quite pretty---red berries & all.
Sun is good for growth but like all most do survive in mostly shade.
Do stay warm.

Lola said...

Guess I pushed the wrong button. Still a little groggy from being put to sleep.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

This is the time when the broad leaf and coniferous evergreens really shine. I also like plants with winter berries: cotoneaster, viburnum, aronia, although the robins are doing their best to strip them. ... Yours is a very eye-catching display of winter interest.

Anonymous said...

It looks like a real garden now Christopher. Job well done, Crawford agrees. We would love to do some evergreen shopping too, but a trip to Lowe's found not a single thing except Christmas trees. This is unusual. Maybe Home Depot later on. On warm days like today, it is impossible to stay inside and clean the house for company like I should be doing. We need fresh air and if it is above freezing and the sun is shining and the wind is not too bad, there is work that can be done.

Gail said...

The greenery looks lovely in the resident gardener's garden. Sun helps and is so necessary. I was whining to Frances about how difficult it's been to get those broadleaf conifers that Grace has mentioned to grow at C&L. Even when I let go of my need for native planting ;) I trip over the shallow soil and dry shade. I just saw some really lovely cotoneasters at the nursery...gail

Christopher C. NC said...

Lola I hope to recreate some of those paths that beckon you on even in the snow. There could even be some of that name not mentioned found on such a walk.

Grace I knew this when I first arrived and planted several Mugo Pines, Bird's Nest Spruce and a single Juniper so far. Going into my third winter now it is fairly shouting at me that a couple of evergreens here and there in this large space just won't cut it. The garden will need some major backbone of evergreens. I have seen some very very berried small shrubs in the median strips around here that I think are a type of small deciduous holly that I need to investigate.

Frances I think the folks will appreciate the trimming. Our Lowes gets rid of all their plants before the Christmas trees come. Then they are basically plantless until spring time planting season.

Gail even with the thinning I am doing I will still be on the edge of proper sun volume. Right now the sun just barely makes it over the top of the mountain across the street. Placement will be important. The soil and water I don't have to worry about, thank goodness.