The Winter Garden

No one living in cold climates needs reminding that February is a tough time for gardeners. You can’t escape photographs of dahlias and seed sowing on social media. It seems everyone is trying to escape the cold, grey weather.

But February is not without its treasures. February has some of the best sunrises (if you are awake early enough to enjoy them). It’s the perfect opportunity to see the “bones” or structure of the garden.

If you look at your garden in the winter and only see a blanket of snow, it’s time to add evergreens. Structure is the key to creating a successful winter garden.

Thoughts About the Winter Garden

While I’m not immune to winter’s gloomy hold, I have learned to appreciate the winter garden.

Let me share a few photographs that I took this morning to show you how things are holding up this season.

Quick video tour of the February 2021 garden.
Icicles hang from our second floor roof.

Cold temperatures and sunshine are the perfect combinations for making icicles. These icicles hang from our second-story roof. They look especially pretty reflecting the morning sun.

Ornamental grass adding color to this snow-filled space.

Few spaces in my garden have enough sun to grow ornamental grasses, but I managed to find a sliver of sunshine at the far corner of the garden for this Overdam feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x Acutiflora ‘Overdam’).

I love how the wispy seed heads billow in the wind. This little vignette is one of my favorite winter scenes.

View looking north towards the arborvitae hedge that encloses the side garden.

The boxwood and arborvitae provide the main structure of this winter garden. Even covered in snow and ice, this space still looks like a garden, and it’s a welcome sight in winter.

Orange garland left over from the holidays adding color to the garden.

I’m glad I decided to hang the holiday orange garland on the Viburnum. I thought the birds or squirrels would eat the oranges, but that was wishful thinking. Even if the local wildlife doesn’t appreciate the garland, I love the pop of color.

Vine-covered garden arbor leading into the back garden from the side yard.

This arbor leading to the back garden is covered with honeysuckle and an Akebia quinata ‘Shiro Bana’ vine. Akebia is a fast-growing vine hardy in zones 5-9. It is advertised as being “semi-evergreen” in warmer areas. Apparently, my vine didn’t get the “warmer area” memo. It stays evergreen during our Michigan winters.

View of the back garden from the second story window.

We’ve had a fair amount of snowfall this season, and I couldn’t be happier. I think the snow makes the garden look beautiful, especially in February.

I used to dread the snow. Now that I’m working from home because of the COVID-19 restrictions, I’ve discovered I love the snow when I don’t have to drive in it.

View across the back garden showing boxwood and arborvitae.
View of hornbeam still holding their leaves from the autumn.

You can see the tracks of the rabbit that took up residence under the deck this winter. It’s fun to watch his travels.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my February garden. If you are a fellow cold-climate gardener, I hope you are staying warm. I know you’re counting down the days until the garden season. Until then, think happy garden thoughts!

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