Winter Gardens

Winter Architecture  5x7in

Winter Architecture

(NOTE: all photos and text on this website/blog are copyrighted and may not be used without my written permission- Copyright © Susan E. Wheeler)

This photo was taken one morning when I looked out and saw how beautiful all of the plants looked under this blanket of heavy frost. I grabbed my camera and headed outside! It was quite wonderful to see how the frost had outlined all of the details of the gardens. It really made the “bones” of the garden extremely deliniated. In this photo above, the fern is an evergreen type and one of my favourites, especially under frost! It is Polystichum polyblepharum, (Tassel Fern) and it is one of the favourites that I recommend in my book, “The Best Trees, Shrubs and Perennials”for the gardens of the Pacific Northwest. Click here    if you would like to see preview pages of this book  

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Notice the large leaves of the Bergenia. They have curled up with the cold, but very soon they were looking as fresh as ever!

Other parts of the gardens were showing off the details of texture, form and contrasting shapes.

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The textures of these plants becomes obvious under the blanket of heavy frost. Even the flower buds of the Viburnum davidii (David’s Viburnum) are quite pretty.

Below, in another part of the gardens, we can see this Viburnum once again. In the second photo, if you look closely, you will see a few of the beautiful turquoise-blue berries that this shrub puts out.

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David’s Viburnum, showing some new red growth.

Close-up showing the blue of the berries on David's Viburnum

Close-up showing the blue of the berries on David’s Viburnum

Although some people want to ‘look down’ on the Juniper family, I count them among my favourites. Not all of them of course, but who would not like to have  beautiful, very low-care, colourful blue shrubs in their gardens that really only require pruning, about twice a year. Of course, I am assuming that their other basice needs are being met, such as good drainage and not too much water. See what I mean, below. These are Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Carpet’ and they show off especially well if they have a low wall to drape over, as they have here.

Junipers with the red buds of the Skimmias

The draping branches of these blue Junipers show off the red buds of the Skimmia shrubs.

Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ is a very good choice for any garden that needs low-care, evergreen and colour, even in winter. What more could anyone possibly want? Some other Skimmias do not require both a male and a female to develop berries but some do. Below, you can see why these are among my favourite plants. They do require shade, however. Lucky you anyway if you have shade gardens! I think that shade-loving plants are always the most interesting.

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Skimmias, looking colourful and beautiful even under frost! Their red buds last all through our winter, here on the West Coast of Canada.

Below, you can see the Bergenia leaves, coloured with the coldness of winter, in one of the large front door planters. These plants do very well in our climate. Even when it gets quite cold, and they then curl up a bit, still they recover and look wonderful just as soon as the temperature warms up a bit. Some years I have seen their leaves turn a bright Christmas red! Beautiful!

One of my winter planter designs, with red-tinged Bergenia leaves.

One of my winter planter designs, with red-tinged Bergenia leaves.

winter colour  KB

Burgundy Bergenia and Red Budded Skimmia add winter colour

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