What is “Winter Interest” in the garden? This may seem like a foreign concept if you live in Florida, but for the rest of the country this is a very real challenge. How do you keep your garden and landscape looking good when covered in snow?
I’ve just come back to Orlando after spending time with my family in Iowa and we were lucky to have a few inches of snow on Christmas eve. Big fat snowflakes kind of snow. It was awesome. As the snow fell I started itching to get outside and get some photos of this beautiful scene. I know I had a better grasp on this at some time, but I seem to have forgotten which plants are really delightful to see with a fresh layer of snow on top. Clearly evergreen are a good option; they add color to a white landscape and have the body to support snow for interesting shapes and added texture.
Winter cleanup can be postponed until spring if it will help add some winter interest in the garden and landscape. These purple coneflowers were beautiful in the summer and now their stiff stems will remain upright holding seed for birds and little puffs of snow up in the air.
The grasses which still held their seed heads were bending under the weight of the snow and seemed to bow with each cold breeze. Seed pods skeletonized over the fall were floating above the weeds and drifts of snow.
The white backdrop to the landscape makes even the slightest bit of color stand out. These wild raspberries have started growing in the windbreak. A scratchy nuisance during the summer months, on this overcast day their red hued stems were vivid against the white snow.
The concept of winter interest in the garden is a different concept in Florida, yes. But the Midwest winters find beauty in unexpected ways and bring another dimension to the difficult task of choosing plants for your home and garden to add beauty throughout the year.