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Using Your Winter Eyes

By: Sandra Nelson; Images Sandy DeFoe


As I was starting to write this week, the phrase seeing eyes popped into my head. When our children were small, we spent a lot of time outdoors, usually exploring our country’s awesome national parks.  Inevitably, at some point in the day, we would remind them to use their seeing eyes  --  the eyes that have the ability to turn a passive, surface glance into an active observation. The eyes that can discern the tiny creature scurrying through the tallgrass prairie or can find the beauty in the pattern of golden leaves against the blue sky. The eyes that see beyond the obvious. For the next few weeks we are going to ask you to turn your seeing eyes into Winter Eyes, or eyes that can truly see the allure of a winter landscape. 


Here in the United States, we have a love affair going with spring and summer gardens. Their displays of vivid colors and delicious fragrances captivate us. We spend hours planning them out to the finest detail and then walk miles through a plethora of garden centers looking for exactly the right plant in exactly the right shade. As fall approaches, we begin the process of “putting the garden to bed” and then we wait throughout the long winter months, anxiously anticipating spring. 


At a cursory glimpse, spring and summer, even fall’s offerings seem to overshadow a winter landscape. However, by using winter eyes, ones that see beyond the seemingly monotonous brown vistas, a dramatic world emerges. Sandy DeFoe, Art Director at Embassy Landscape Group explains that “In winter everything gets stripped down to its very essence and becomes sculptural. Details and views hidden by summer leaves are revealed. Structure, form and the quality of light and atmosphere become the stars of the show. By using the cues that nature gives us, we can fill our yards with winter beauty. “


Sometimes, for those of us who are not particularly artistically inclined,  it can be difficult to isolate each of the design elements from the big picture. Over the next few weeks we will bring you examples of each element at its winter best. Today though, I hope you will join us for an armchair tour of winter's magic. 


 Begin a magical winter journey by clicking here.