If the term RAIN GARDEN brings an image of a weedy bog teeming with scores of mosquitoes and other unpleasant flying insects to your mind, then it’s time to update and edit that picture!
To bring both vitality and tranquility to a garden, motion has to be an intentional element of the design.
If you stop and think about it, movement is inherent in nature. Every motion, no matter how big or how small, adds its thread to the tapestry that is our environment.
Early spring is a great time to turn a hum-drum landscape into the masterpiece of your dreams. Often, adding a few well-chosen and well-placed shrubs to the existing plant palette can make all the difference in the world.
Typically, the first considerations for adding plants to the landscape are whether their peak season characteristics will mesh well with the rest of the existing design. There is however, another question to ask before choosing new additions : What do they offer for winter?
One of the aspects of the season that I have especially come to love is winter’s light and shadow. The quality of light is different in the winter. It’s less intense, softer and more diffused.
What started as a mild season, almost a non-winter winter, has turned into a “Snow-mageddon” here. It’s been snowstorm after snowstorm, temperatures so frigid that it’s dangerous to go outside and depressingly grey skies. Even winter-lovers were having a hard time defending this weather. I must admit that the slight enthusiasm I had mustered for the season was rapidly disappearing.
And then I got an unexpected gift -- a collection of emailed pictures from a friend’s treks in the woods. (Followers of this blog will probably guess that it was Sandy Defoe who sent the pictures; unlike so many of us, she lives for the winter months.) She had stumbled upon a field of hoar frost and she was euphoric over her rare find.
I realized something this week. What I see in the winter is significantly different than what I see in the summer. I know that seems painfully obvious, but bear with me. In the summer, I spend much of my day outside either on the deck playing with the grandkids or tending the garden. Then, I see our lush backyard and the woods behind it. In the winter however, I spend hours in the kitchen, standing at the sink and gazing out the window on the front yard. Although we are putting in a prairie, right now the view from the front is much more urban in nature -- sidewalks, streets, cars and houses. It isn’t a calming view.
Thinking about where you see the outdoors is the first step in transforming a rather blah winter landscape into a masterpiece. So, how do you change an ordinary planting into an extraordinary winter scene?