There’s a great deal of discussion in gardening circles about what gardeners can plant in their gardens to provide “winter interest.” I wonder if this is primarily a concern of those who live in climates where winter dormancy is combined with a bleak winter landscape and drab, gray winter days.
Where I live in northern New England, winter is itself interesting – and beautiful. Winters here are normally snowy. The primary winter interest in my garden is provided by the white of snow contrasting with the deep green of conifer trees that grow around the edges of the garden. What’s more, the low pressure areas that bring us snow alternate with high pressure areas that bring blue skies and dazzling snow-reflected sunshine. New-fallen snow transforms almost everything that it touches into a thing of beauty.
|The weight of the snow gave this tall spiky seed head of Liatris aspera its graceful arc.|
|A backdrop of white enhances the subtle silver and gold shades of exploded milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) pods and renders them beautiful.|
I think of the beauty that snow brings to the garden as mostly visual, but this winter surprised me with a different kind of winter interest – provided, improbably, by snow shoveling. As I shoveled the narrow walkway through the Lavender Walk after each storm, I would uncover the grayed foliage of lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) that edges the walkway. As my shovel brushed against it, the disturbed foliage released its aromatic oils, suffusing the air with a swoon-inducing scent in this fragrance-deprived season.