Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Garden Seasons ~ The Winter Garden



A snowy day in my New England garden. We've had some 5" of snow so far today, blown along by a blustery wind out of the northwest. The garden is at rest, secure below a soft layer of "poor man's fertilizer", aka snow.
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Notice the miscanthus 'Variegata' in the foreground. In its winter plumage, it will not be cut down until March warms both the garden and the gardener. As it stands, it provides not only winter interest, but a protected place for birds to rest out of the wind.
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Behind the grasses can be glimpsed the outlines of the pond, with its wooden bench standing sentinel. The pond is still now, with only a small electric deicer to keep an 8" circle of surface ice free. Thus, the goldfish and amphibians below the frozen surface can "breathe" until the ice goes out sometime in early March.
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Just beyond the pond, the dwarf Alberta spruce stands dusted with snow, and provides green contrast to the brown and white of the garden. The European white birch are difficult to keep healthy. They really prefer more northern climes, and here in southern New England require preventative measures to keep birch leaf miner and borers at bay. I believe in putting the right plant in the right place, and so did not plant the birches, but rather inherited them when we bought our house 16 years ago. Nonetheless, I recognize the beauty their peeling bark and statuesque presence lend to the front garden.
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January is time for dreaming and planning next season's garden. It's a time to start a new garden diary, to order seeds and to make lists of "to-do's".
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Follow along with me this year as we commence working with Nature in her never-ending cycle.