Winter Garden Interest is VERY important to anyone living in a region, like New England, where snow is a regular occurrence. It is probably safe to say that January 2011 has pushed the limits for our love of snow here in Massachusetts. So far it is on record as the third snowiest winter season behind 1996 and 2005. The kicker is it is only January!
The UP-SIDE is that no matter how sick of snow I may be getting, a little garden pizzazz that peaks through the snow layer and lights up a landscape vista goes a LONG way in easing my pain!
The Five "B"s of Winter Garden Interest
Why not plan to add one (if not all five) this spring in anticipation of the snow that will surely come in 2012. You can implement these ideas quickly and inexpensively and gain loads of landscape ROI value for the effort.
BIRDS: Attracting birds to the landscape is a past time loved by many. I am not sure I would have paid so much attention if it hadn't been for my husband Chris’ true admiration for birds. Building habitat is a noble endeavor, while sitting back and watching the birds dance to and fro amongst feeders and brush is totally captivating. Many of The Garden Continuum clients are bird lovers and simply add a feeder to their landscape as an easy, inexpensive and immediately rewarding effort.
Try a squirrel-proof feeder. We LOVE our Yankee Flipper because it has a battery pack in it that twirls the squirrel right off the feeder. Now let's talk about a funny site...a squirrel spinning wildly around on the carnival ride of its life when all it wanted was a tasty morsel. Not to disparage the squirrels (gray or red) they are fun creatures to watch and they get plenty of vitals on the ground...birds are slobs…but it is a belly laugh to witness them flip and spin off the feeders. Come on watch and have a laugh… squirrels always land on their feet!
Check out this squirrel proof feeder. My cats are captivated by their u-tube footage!
BERRIES: If it is birds you want, then berries are the perfect enticement. Of course the idea here is for you to enjoy the lovely contrast of berry to snow. Here are few to get you started.
- Ilex verticillata (pictured)
- Malus floribunda
- Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’
- Callicarpa dichotoma
- Viburnum dilatatum
- Cornus kousa
Planting a variety of berry bearing plants will not only increase your interest, but your bird population and diversity as well.
BARK: So many trees and shrubs have interesting bark. Plants with interesting bark add a dimension of color as well as texture to the garden.
BRANCHES: The form a plant takes as it grows and matures is a valuable structural element to take advantage of in landscape design. When there is snow, these patterns of trunk, branch and twig make for extraordinary tapestries of shadow, light and texture.
BENCHES: A place to sit amidst the snow may not be the first thing that comes to mind (that is why it is in 5th), but seating in the landscape has always been used to draw attention and paint vistas. This is no less true in the snow. And of course that goes for any garden element (problem is the don't start with B). So think about...
- arBors and latticework
- fences and walls
- lampposts and planters
- potting shed and green house
See only one hidden B in all of that! But the take away point is that any object of art, whimsy, or even utility can become an alluring view when all of the surrounding landscape has been blanketed in snow. The key is positioning it so you capitalize on the winter viewing angles.
What things come to mind when you think of winter garden interest? No they don't have to start with B, but we'd still love to get your input, so this spring we can get to work building winter garden interest into our landscapes. Submit your ideas below, and…
- Winter Sun by Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Woodpecker by Tina Phillips / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Berries, Acer griseum, Birches and Bench by Monique Allen