A Winter Garden, Part 1

A garden in winter. What descriptions come to mind when you hear that sentence? Cold, damp, and dark? Lifeless, or mostly so? Bare trees, mushy plant residue, saturated soil? Or lumps and bumps under a layer of snow? All can be accurate to a point. But, in truth, a winter garden often is a vibrant and beautiful place. It is a place filled with life, color, movement and fragrance. Subtle color such as pale pink set against a background of deep green is a remarkably welcome sight on a cloudy winter day. (We have many such days here in the Pacific Northwest.) Or the vibrantly colored bare twigs of a group of shrubs that looks like the group is lit from within. Maybe brilliant purple, red and green of petioles, buds, and leaves. A bit a unexpected beauty on a gray day. There is so much to see in a winter garden.

My spouse and I have been taking weekly walks in the Washington Park Arboretum to visit the Witt Winter Garden, and surrounding areas, to see the many surprises a winter garden offers. If you haven’t visited the Arboretum yet this winter, now is the time!

Garrya elliptica seedheads.
A gorgeous Corylus.
Camelia japonica
More Camelia
Various Cornus sericea (yellow twig dogwood) and a beautiful willow shrub. The plant is labeled Black Willow (Salix ssp.) but I think it looks like Salix alba.
A winter garden is incomplete without Hellebores.
Daphniphyllum macropodum is a beautiful small tree.
More Daphniphyllum.

For all its harsh, dark days, winter also brings brief moments of beauty. And, the gifts of a winter garden are as welcome as any gift can be.

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