Friday, January 22, 2010

The Winter Garden

My love affair with gardening began when we bought our very first house. The cheery, bright red geraniums that the previous owners had planted immediately tugged at my sentimental heartstrings, and our little fixer-upper felt so "homey" right away. I was smitten!

Since then, I have designed, hard-scaped, and landscaped all of my home's gardens, with Hubby and I doing all of the work ourselves. This spring I'll be ripping out and re-designing garden #4!

I am so passionate about gardening now! I've learned a lot along the way, and would like to share some of my gardening knowledge here with you at The Blessed Nest.

Let's start at the very beginning....
....ok, not at the beginning, but how about where we are right now.
Smack dab in the middle of Winter.
What? You don't think there's much to do with the garden in Wintertime?!

Actually, Wintertime is the perfect time to really study your garden.
There's so much to see! Or, then again, maybe there isn't.
Most people plan their garden for gorgeous blooms in the Spring and Summer, but
give nary a thought to the bare, Winter months!

If you'd like to have some beautiful interest in your own Winter Garden, here are some things that you can do:

  • Add trees with beautiful shape. The bare branches become like a living sculpture!
  • Some trees and plants have lovely bark that either peels attractively (birch trees, for example) or has a pretty color.
  • Some plants have colorful berries and seedheads that also may feed local wildlife, plus give you lots of bird sightings!
  • Tall grasses can take center stage this time of year, even covered with some snow.
  • Evergreen trees and shrubs add year-round life, color and texture, things that are often missing in Northern winter gardens.
  • The architectural framework of your garden is most important. Things like: fences, potting sheds, stone or brick edging, bird houses, bird baths, benches, & arbors, for example, will give your garden year-round structure and interest.

{This is my old garden in NC. Notice how this little seating area looks in late Spring:}

{and how the same area looks in Winter:}

Thanks to the fence, stone path, bench, evergreens, pretty branches of the rose bushes, and bird feeder (cropped out of winter pic, but it's there!) this seating area looks just as charming covered in snow as it does with blooming flowers surrounding it!

This section of my garden wasn't left bare, there was several things I purposely added there for year-round interest!

If you want to start small this Winter & make a big impact,
then how about planting some evergreen branches, long bare branches & colorful berries in a pot near your front door? Or add one in the back yard where you can see it from a window!

Take notes of your garden now and when Spring comes, you'll know what changes you'd like to add in to make your garden look beautiful all year long!!

I think I'll begin a little weekly series. What do you think? Even if you think you have a "black thumb" now, you can learn some easy & fun things along the way!


Brittany said...

Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog :) I've been following your blog for quite awhile, and must say I love your style.

I'm definitely one of those with a black thumb! But I'd love to know more about making a pretty garden - a weekly series sounds wonderful! Can't wait to learn some things from you - you've got the knack :)

Brenda said...

Raising my black thumb here! I would love to see this as a regular series!

My neighbor and I shop for and plant our gardens each spring. If a plant survives living with either of us for a whole season, it's a keeper!

Bunny said...

Love your photos. I am not a gardener but I do love the beauty of the garden. I do plant etc but do not like the weeding etc. I admire anyone who love this art. I prefer to stitch.

Megandvd@Beauty in the Attempt said...

When do you think you would be in the Louisville area to come help me tackle my dreadful backyard? I have a good front, but walk behind the front facade and blah. Except for the 2nd condo..I mean playground splendor. I really need to embrace botany and expore the possibilities. Love the you get beauty all year round just from careful planning and attention to detail.


Kristin said...

OK, gkorgeous area around the bench! A weekly post about gardening would be awesome, I just started my own garden and am watching it SLOWLY grow :) Thanks for stopping by my kitchen, Enjoying reading around your blog. Have a wonderful weekend!

Shelia said...

Hi Stacey! Love seeing your garden even in the snow! We don't have a very big back yard and my thumb's not too green, but I try!
Thanks so much for popping in to see me today.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Melissa Miller said...

So pretty! I love the idea of comparing and seeing the beauty in each season. ~Lovely!

Manuela@TPOH said...

I find that structure is essential when planning a garden that will look covered in snow. Loved your example - it looks pretty in both seasons!

You may like "A Garden In Winter" by Suzy Bales.


Judy@cutest-little-things said...

I LIVE to garden! There's nothing on this earth like the feeling of nurturing something and watching it GROW! People think I'm a little nutty, but I even landscaped my son's playhouse!

It wasn't finished until late summer/early fall, so I have more I want to add this spring (to go with the 100 spring-flowering bulbs that I planted around it!!)

I love that you touched on the beauty of the landscape ALL year - not just the flowering months.

There are so many beautiful trees, ground covers, and shrubs that can decorate the barren landscape as beautifully as any summer flower.

I'm so excited about your new series! Can't wait to follow along and learn even more!


Stacey said...

You and I are on the same wavelength. I just can't wait for the days to get a little longer and warmer. Dying to go get my hands in the dirt and work awhile. My husband and I call it "surveying the estate".

A new fence is on our spring list. We will most likely do it ourselves..I'm not sure how it will fit in the schedule though. :)

Carli said...

Hi Stacey! I love your garden with the stone bench, but where in NC were you? I'm new to NC and haven't seen that much snow yet, (and hope not to)lol. Can't wait to see more postings on gardening!

Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

oh ate my long comment. :) your planter looks's all wet and muddy here now. Can't wait to see your kitchen as it comes along.

Martha said...

The winter garden definitely looks better in white than brown --

Your pictures are very pretty.

Janean said...

everything actually looks even more beautiful blanketed in snow!!! how lovely....