It is a cold snowy day. I am looking out the front window and I am thinking about all those bulbs that I so tenderly planted last autumn. I am wondering if I mulched the hydrangeas and the roses enough. My eyes scan the landscape and one term pops into my mind winter interest. This term must have been thought up by a gardener who lives in a northern area where some plants die and some go dormant in winter. Now dear reader I would truly love to tell you that I planned all my gardens just so they would hold some interest for myself in the winter but alas this is not true. However I must admit I think the gardens are absolutely beautiful in the winter.

My eyes scan the gardens. I didn't cut down any of the ornamental grasses, annual or perennial, last autumn. Why cut them down when they looked so beautiful.? Now they have been wind bleached . Some are bent and broken but still standing tall. The sedum, echinaceae, and lactifloria have acquired a golden glow. The crabapple is covered with red fruit awaiting the return of cardinals and cedar waxwings. The crimson clump maple shows its bones. What a beautifully shaped tree even in winter. The recently planted cornelian cherry has the most beautiful wineglass figure, a tree which is intriguing in all seasons. The edge of the gardens are apparent even in the winter because there are still some annuals poking up through the snow. Well they survived the early frosts and I simply could not yank them out while they were still producing flowers! Maybe some of them shed seeds which need stratification (in other words winter) and will send up flowers next spring. I notice that delivery people no longer cut across the front of our property in the winter. They may be afraid of being swallowed up by the remnants of last year's gardens! This is not a bad thing because when the spring bulbs start to poke up in early spring these folks won't be walking on them.

The gazebo is covered with snow but remnants of geraniums peek up through the snow near the ground. (Okay I forgot about them.) The clematis all brown and wispy still clings tightly to the trellis. Will it still produce as many flowers in 2010? I notice the perky large buds of the lilacs. These were formed last year shortly after last season's blooms finished and are just lying in wait. I am fascinated by the buds of trees and shrubs in winter and am gradually learning to identify plants from their buds... great fun....really!

I take a peak under the herb garden debris. The oreganos and the mints are green. I take a sample of apple mint. Delicious.

Yes the garden is beautiful in winter for its present display but perhaps I love it because it represents gardens past and the promise of a year yet to come.

Forever Young Magazine - February 2010