Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snow Can Cover a Multitude of Sins

As I learn more about gardening and garden design, I try to pay attention to how my garden will look in all seasons. While there's just no getting around the ugly brown and mush and otherwise unattractive death in the garden during winter, there are times when the winter garden is just beautiful.

And this is why I planted Red Twig Dogwoods
(Cornus sericea 'Cardinal')

We received 4-5" of new snow last night and today, and while it was still coming down, I went outside to take a look. Puffy white snow makes all the brown disappear, and it's then that you can see the beauty in the design of your garden. Snow even makes some of the ugly parts look pretty good.

The annuals and many of the perennials are gone, but some remain as snow-catchers. Taller grasses and shapely shrubs and trees are really what give the gardens and landscaping its structure, and maybe at no other time is this more apparent than when winter strips the garden down to its bare bones.

Walking through and around the property, I saw areas where I was quite pleased with how things appeared. Others didn't excite me, but when it all gets balanced out, I'm not unhappy. Then I looked at details - vignettes that the snow presented to my photographer's eye...

The Japanese Garden

Pyracantha berries

Pay no attention to the frozen cactus behind the owl

Pieris japonica, one of three different Pieris in the gardens

Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana) shows off the reason
its cultivar is called 'Contorta'

Carex hachijoensis 'Evergold' and Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln'

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer'
(One of the Endless Summer cultivars and my best bloomer)

Holly (Ilex x meserveae 'Blue Girl') and Yucca in the Japanese Garden

Kitty enjoys the bench beside the plant stand adorned with
Variegated English Ivy (Hedera Helix). Both have storage inside.

Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora 'Brilliance') is still green!

The Hellebores are insulated under the fresh snow, between the
Dwarf Alberta Spruce trees (Picea glauca 'Conica')

Max had to take a look around 'his' garden, too.
A cement bench protects him from the north wind.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you, the garden looks beautiful with its' snow frosting. :)

Kylee Baumle said...

PerennialGardener ~ Goodness, woman! You jumped right on that, didn't you? LOLOL!
You know what I will hate about that snow that looks so beautiful now? When it starts to melt or evaporate and sink and get dirty. :-(

Tee said...

Wonderful pics, Kylee! I loved the way it looked here until the snow melted; I now have a very different opinion of snow, as you know. The dynamics of the recent snow/rain storms were just more than the geography could handle. I may be content just to look at others' beautiful pics from now on.

joey said...

I love the bones of your winter garden, Kylee. Your red twig dogwood are stunning against the white snow. I love to cut mine for arrangements. But what I really covet is your Harry Lauder's Walking Stick, which I have always wanted!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your garden is beautiful with a blanket of snow Kylee. I also have one of those autumn ferns. They do look beautiful all winter. Those red twig dogwoods look brilliant in the snow. Red is an exciting color. Your cat looks several pounds heavier with its winter coat on. A good thing.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Even in the snow it looks great! LOL the poor kitty cat!

TC said...

I have one thing to say about snow: It's pretty for a short time!

But your photographs will always be gorgeous. ;~)

Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

Your winter garden looks great Kylee. We have another foot of snow here in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen a red twig dogwood before. It looks striking against the snow. Are the blooms white or pink? Max looks cute :)


TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Hi Kylee, wow fourteen absolutely gorgeous photos, clever girl, they are all very arty. I like the winter garden too if it is snow on the ground that is. If it is snow it looks neat and tidy. You also can see the gardens structure very well when it is winter.(snow)

Lots of Love Tyra

Unknown said...

Yes, snow is good at covering (in my garden's case) a whole lot of 'sins'; we too are having a big snowstorm (though so far without wind, oddly enough) today, and things look wonderful from the warmth of my office. Though not as wonderful as your garden and yard do, I have to confess.

Louise Hartwig said...

Not only is Max a loving cat, he is beautiful. With his dense coat, I bet he is enjoying the new fluffy carpet in his garden.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Your garden does look lovely in the snow, as do your garden decorations and critters. I had to laugh at your comment about the snow melting and looking dirty.

MyMaracas said...

Love the red dogwood and walking stick. I'll have to look for those.

There's a lot to see in your garden, even when it's sleeping.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kylee,

Enjoyed you discovering and describing wintery delights - then almost became grumpy having to check dictionary for 'vignettes' - keep up the nice work !!

Your old boss

Anonymous said...

Max is adorable. :) I love the red twig dogwoods against that white snow! In fact, your entire property looks pristine and soft. Lots of snow here today, as jodi said, and it's of the most beautiful, light and lacey, big-flaked variety. The wind is supposed to pick up overnight though.

Brenda Pruitt said...

You have such a lovely, tranquil place. I just love to see photos of the well-thought out gardens. Max is a beauty as well.

Unknown said...

Snow sure can dress up an otherwise dready looking place, can't it? As much as I complain about it, it does serve it's purpose.

Shady Gardener said...

Kylee, Your garden is inspiring during all seasons! I love the red twig dogwood, grass, etc. but we don't have enough sun (and the somewhat sunny spot I have is already crowded.) ;-) However, I'm making landscape plans for friends that have a lot of sun. Fun! :-)

Kylee Baumle said...

Tee ~ I know you were so excited about the prospect of snow when you moved to Washington, but yes, snow can be a dangerous thing at times, too. Still, there's nothing quite like its beauty when it behaves.

Joey ~ I'll have to cut some of the older branches out of the red twig dogwoods when they do get older. It's the young branches that show red in winter.
We have two Harry Lauder's Walking Sticks - one in front (the one pictured) and one in back, which is larger. The only thing I hate is the catkins in the spring. They're messy. Also, its leaves are crinkled in a way that some people think the tree is dying. LOL.

Lisa ~ This is my first winter with the autumn fern. I thought it would turn orange, but apparently the new fronds are that color. Is that right?

Max IS several pounds heavier in the winter. He's a solid kitty. His coat does get thicker, too, and the color is a little darker. I wish he were an inside cat; he's such a cuddlecat!

Misti ~ Don't worry about Max! He's got a really thick coat and he has somewhere to get in out of the cold. We put all our cats inside either the pool house or the garage each night. The cold really doesn't seem to bother them a whole lot. If it's too cold, they just don't come out!

TC ~ Thank you. That's why I take them - so I can remember the pretty scenes! :-)

Carolyn Gail ~ You guys are really getting pounded, aren't you? We have a friend in Kenosha, WI that just got 18 new inches!

Susie ~ The blooms are white and quite small. Don't buy them for the blooms, because they're not impressive. It's the red in the winter I wanted, although they are attractive in shape the rest of the year, too. It's funny how those branches are green in warm weather!

Max is a real sweetie. He's the kind of cat that either makes you want a whole bunch of them because you want more of what he is, or you won't want any more because he's all a cat owner could want in a cat.

Tyra ~ Thank you! I'm glad you liked them! I do love to photograph snow in the garden. Oh wow - there's one thing I actually like about winter! :-O

jodi ~ We are to get more snow starting tomorrow night, with 25 mph winds, gusting to 35 mph. With the snow we already have, plus a few more inches and wind, we'll have some nice drifting going on.

I do NOT believe you that your garden doesn't look as good as mine. Nope, don't believe it a bit. You're probably just tired of looking at it. Your garden is gorgeous; I've seen your pictures, too!

Mom ~ Yes, Max is a loverboy, and you know this firsthand. I wish your Ivy was like Max. Maybe as he gets older, he'll change.

Sue ~ Thanks! And you laughed about my comment because you know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you? :-)

MyMaracas ~ You know, there IS a lot to see out there. I just wish winter wasn't so cold so I could go out and be in the garden more and enjoy it!

Bob ~ What a pleasant surprise to see your comment! I was just thinking about you today and wondering how you've been. I need to e-mail you soon.

I laughed at your "grumpy" comment, because that's so you. I remember the day I used the word "harbinger" at work. LOL. You need to be like Richard Paul Evans was when I taught him "ephemeral." He was excited to learn a new word!

Nancy ~ Everyone loves Max, because Max loves everyone. He'd lay in your lap all day long if you let him.
We had some fluffy snow today, too. I love it when it snows like that. We're also to get wind starting tomorrow night. Could be nasty! Stay warm, Nancy!

Brenda ~ Would you be surprised if I told you that 75% (maybe more) of the gardens weren't thought out much at all? I really am a gardener who sees plants she likes, buys them, then brings them home and says, "Oh dear, now where am I going to put all that?" I move things around quite a bit, too. But thank you for the compliment!

Cinj ~ Yes, it can! I do love snow in winter, as long as it doesn't interfere with my activities, like when I need to drive somewhere.

Shady ~ I haven't had the red twig dogwoods too long (new in 2008), but I've loved them from Day One. We have plenty of sun for them, although if I keep "cluttering up" the yard, that might change! LOL!

Dana S. Whitney said...

We rarely have snow here... but clearly I should have thought about how to make my "garden" more attractive during the long, brownish dormant season. I'm thinking (but still a little lazy -- demoralized after losing the major shade tree on the West side).
As I read of all the memories you have related to your garden, I'm sad that I lived so long where a garden wasn't a sensible option, and that prior to that I couldn't be bothered. (It was an overly negative reaction to MY mother quizzing me on the latin names of plants when I was about 9 and NOT INTERESTED. LOL. But now... I'm interested.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi. What wonderful photos - and what wonderful snow!!! I'm in the cold, damp UK and dreaming of getting some snow. We've had some stunningly beautiful hoar frosts, but it's not the same.
I'm really interested in your Japanese garden as I am in the (very) slow process of making one -and, funnily enough, bought a cornus albus for it at the weekend!
I'm new to blogging, but will definately keep an eye on your blog from now on.

Kylee Baumle said...

Knitting Painter Woman ~ I know exactly what you mean about not being interested in gardening before you became interested. My mom has always gardened and I just couldn't be bothered. Now we share our love of it and I'm so glad!

Liz ~ Welcome to the blogosphere and to Our Little Acre! You'll have so much fun with your blogging. Do you know about Blotanical? If you haven't already, check it out at What a great group of gardening bloggers you'll find there from all over the world!

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