Friday, January 27, 2012

The winter garden

A saunter in the garden after a snowstorm is a magical experience indeed. Often there are blue skies and blinding sunshine, crisp winter air, and always, always, there is that amazing stillness, that peaceful, muffled serene silence of the snow that has to be experienced to fully understand. Perhaps you hear the delicate flutter of a bird's wings at the feeders, or you hear their winter mating calls, and you feel the crunch of snow as it packs under your feet with each step. You see zillions of dazzling shiny snow crystals illuminating like snow fairies—as if Mother Nature has sprinkled diamond bling dust everywhere. Perfect.

With structures in the garden—a trellis, arch, statue, trees, or an arrangement of large stones—there will  always be something interesting to look at in every season. Last winter delivered several feet of snow here on Boston's North Shore, and our four season's statues—which stand over four feet tall—were buried up to their necks in snow. Winter structures also cast beautiful shadows. An elongated tree shadow cast by the low winter sun on newly fallen snow is a beautiful sight. The snows of winter benefit the garden in two ways—first, by insulating soil, plants and their roots, and secondly, by pulling down nitrogen from the air which is beneficial for the soil. My Uncle Elmer taught me that A Blanket of Snow is a Poor Man's Fertilizer, so cross your fingers for more snow days!

Gorgeous lacey filigree shadows of the London Plane trees in our allée

Our sunken garden in winter

A teak bench is tucked into a cluster of arborvitae, 
giving a nice view into our sunken garden
all photos, Dan Ryan & Diane Carnevale

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