The Magic of a Winter Garden

When planning a garden, do you think about what it will look like in winter?

Last week we enjoyed a virtual talk by club member and garden designer Joan Butler giving us tips and inspiration for designing a garden for winter interest. The winter season is long in New England, as most of us know, so it makes sense to plan our gardens with some features that will be visually pleasing in winter.

Joan talked about how planning a garden for winter interest uses the same design techniques as in regular landscape design, considering form, line, texture, color, repetition, and focal points. A winter garden needs ‘good bones’, which are pleasing shapes and structure that remain once the leaves fall and flowers fade. This includes things such as trees, shrubs, and man-made structures.

Joan also gave us suggestions for plants for our area that are great in a winter garden, either due to evergreen foliage, interesting form, or colorful bark or berries.

We enjoyed this inspiring talk, along with Joan’s wonderful photos that illustrated how a winter garden could indeed be magical with a little planning and design. Thank you, Joan!

Foraged Florals

The other evening one of our talented club members, Valerie Howes, gave a talk and demonstration on making floral arrangements out of material foraged from around the yard.

This time of year the garden still provides end-of-the-season flowers, and some, such as hydrangeas, will look good dried.

In nearby woods or even along the side of the road, one can find treasures such as branches, grasses, berries, and pods – just be sure you aren’t taking something from someone else’s property!

Even invasive plants such as Oriental Bittersweet berries such as in the arrangement above can be pretty, as long as the arrangement is meant for indoors only. Removing invasives from the outdoors and having material for a lovely bouquet sounds like a win-win!

It was a fun demonstration, and many of us were inspired to go out in the yard and see what we could find for our own floral arrangements!