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Winter Garden Interest: A New Way to See the Landscape

snow covered winter landscapeLet's face it if you are living in New England (Massachusetts in particular) you and your garden are buried in snow...multiple feet of it.

As it snowed overnight I found myself sleepless in anticipation of yet another school cancellation and more snow covering my sleeping gardens. Okay I was stressing about what to do with two kids all day long! But the garden crossed my mind too.

In the morning (after the 5:30am school cancellation call on the home phone and my cell) I awoke to snow covering the base of all our doors and coating the bedroom windows and screens making it dark and cozy for sleeping. Of course I was the only one sleeping. The kids were pacing the house ready to start their day, and Chris was out on his tenth hour of plowing the roads of Dover overnight.

unplowed driveway in a winter landscape

I dutifully offered some breakfast vitals and then suited up for a yet another shoveling expedition. The dog was thrilled! It had been 12 hours since her last jaunt to the woods and she was dancing in anticipation.

Once the paths were clear and the dog relieved I simply looked up and oh my what a captivating scene. It was stunning. This much snow really changes a landscape. It became all too clear in that instant why my brother chose to make his home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Snow stops the rush, slows the stress, and silences the mayhem of life. It is as simple as that.

Snow also does something worth remark to the landscape.

First, it covers all edges and ground flaws.

Second, it adds a blanket of silence to everything by absorbing the simplest sounds.

Third, snow creates a new way of seeing the land, plants, and hard elements of the environment.

Fourth, it forces you outside to interact with it.

Fifth, if you are lucky and willing you will be moved by it so that you become awestruck.

snow covered vegetable garden

Paths and patios are just plain gone from perception. Bed lines and small shrubs are erased from our vision. Trees and any vertical structural elements are downsized as well as highlighted. Now the landscape is perceived as an idea, or concept with little or no definition; a landscape designer’s dream.

When you stop and look at a landscape nestled deep in a layer of snow cover you see the peaks and pronunciations in grand relief. You also see the holes and vacuums in staunch view. Wow, the gaps and unfilled voids show up, screaming for attention.

The other amazing highlight of the snow filled landscape is that the art and structures that have made home in your garden: Arbors, planters, swings, play sets, fountains, statues, bird feeders and baths, and even ponds, now create delicate depressions, poignant peaks, sublime silhouettes, and active attractions amidst the drifts and shadows of snow.

What more can anyone ask for than a view while doing dishes that offers a brilliant display of birds dancing to and from feeders. Or the experience of a dog bounding and weaving through trees and shrubs with dizzy joy.

happy dog in the snowy landscape

This level of snowfall is an invitation to see your landscape differently. What is it offering you now that it doesn't offer in the snowless months? Where are the highlights and holes? What needs work in the spring, so that next winter you have amazing views? Maybe it is time to add winterberry for the red splash of color, or a redwood for the russet bark, or maybe it is finally time to commit to that sculpture you have always dreamed of and set it with love into your landscape in order to be appreciated within the changing seasons.

Happy Gardening

I would love to hear how your landscape is speaking to you. What is different, surprising or distressing about all this snow in your landscape?

The Insider's Guide to Landscape Design

 
Topics: Horticulture In The Garden Designing Gardens and Landscapes Seasonal Garden Interest