Sunday, February 23, 2014

Look for Winter Interest Opportunities

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener
Still lots of snow but a good day to look around
Today was a great opportunity to get outside - warm (well-not so cold), clear and sunny. I took a walk around the house and yard to check the status of the trees and shrubs after the big snows and cold weather.

I'm following up on last fall's landscape design class. It was a good day to record what it looks like in winter, especially where I might need winter interest.

The line of arborvitae trees along the edge of the yard did not fare well last year but were rescued by wrapping them with twine to hold them together. This year we neglected to be proactive and they have suffered again. We anticipate only some branch loss. Next year we will have to follow a neighbor's strategy and tie them up in burlap.

Arborvitaes suffered damage in the snow & ice
Putting burlap around shrubs can prevent winter damage

Side yard - future shade garden

The side yard has been partially cleared for a shade garden next year thanks to Denise Lucas and Nancy Miller's inspiration at the Shade Gardening workshop. The yews at the far end revived after we kept shaking the ice and snow off. The back layer of the garden will need something evergreen that thrives in shade or an interesting winter shrub. There is a small azalea at the near end.

I'm thinking a Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica) might be good and a few dwarf boxwood that would be a good backdrop to other plants if kept trimmed.

Side yard - future Mediation Garden
The yard on the other side is earmarked as a Meditation Garden sparked by Alloway Creek's Sanctuary Garden (somewhere in the future). Taking a cue from Nancy Miller I want to make a doorway (hydrangeas?) near the front with the garden area near the wall having a few layers of plants. Electrical work this summer will add an exterior outlet for a future fountain.

I'm saving my pennies for a Frank Lloyd Wright Midway Garden Sprite statue.

To hide the air conditioner I hoping to put a trellis at a 90 degree angle and put a vine or two - maybe an evergreen like one of the varieties of clematis along with a summer bloomer.  With deciduous trees and southern exposure this side gets good winter sun.

My neighbor has a Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree sited perfectly for winter interest and our somewhat twisted cherry trees are also interesting.
Harry Lauder Walking Stick (L) & Cherry Trees (R)
So look for some clear days outside and do an inventory of where you might add some plants for winter interest. This will give you an excuse to look at all the catalogues that are coming in the mailboxes.

Right. like you need an excuse!

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