As much as I like a garden filled with flowers, there is another part of me, The Zen Part, that likes the look of just the evergreens, standing alone, in the Winter Garden.
From November until early April, my garden, here at Whimsey Hill is only about interest provided by Arborvitae, Cypress, Spruce, and Yew. Man-made objects of iron and stone, along with the ornamental grasses help fill in blank spots, and add some extra visual stimulation.
My goal, when placing evergreens in the garden is / was to site them so there is always something to look at in Winter, in front of the gray-beige bark of trees that are without their leaves. I want them placed so my eyes move from one green thing to another, as I look across my 125 x 125 foot back yard. The lawn and garden views are important to me, if I am outside on the deck, or looking from one of the windows that are on the back of the house.
I feel Variety and Repetitive Planting are two important factors to think about, when it comes to decorating land. You want Repetitive Plantings of some of the same plants across a garden space to unify / tie it together. In a way, that is Mass Planting. Variety comes in Specimen Plants that are spread out across your landscape here and there. Here at Whimsey Hill there are an assortment of different shapes and sizes of evergreens. I have nests, mounds, spheres, pyramids, column, topiary, etc, that to me are living sculpture in the garden.
When siting (planting) an evergreen, or any other kind of bush or tree, just don’t bring it out onto the lawn, dig a hole, and plant it. First take the plant out to the location where you think it will look best, set it down, then walk back and forth looking at it from all angles. You can then move it a bit, if needed, so it ends up in the right place. I take the siting process a bit further, by even going into the house and looking out different windows to see how the plant looks from inside. Decorating Land, is not just about planting things, it is about making a Visual Picture.
Over the years I’ve had many ideas about different things that I wanted to add to my landscape / garden. Some of them I just did, while others I had to think about a bit, before I even went out to buy a single plant.
If I question the placement of a bush or tree on my property, I will first put something like a lawn chair, box, pail, some pieces of fire wood, etc in the spot where I am thinking about putting the plant. By doing that I can see how another element would look in that space.
Years ago, I helped my neighbors figure out the number of foundation plants they would need, and the spacing of the plants they were thinking about putting on the back side of their house. We used pieces of fire wood to represent single foundation plants. We added and subtracted wood, moving the pieces back and forth along the back side of their house, until we came up with the right number of plants needed, and the exact spots where they would be planted.
I hope that what started out as an article about showing you my garden in Winter, turned out to be something that inspires you in the decorating of you land. For more ideas and inspiration that might help you with designing your Winter Garden look at my…
Companion Post .. Looking at Evergreens in the Garden 1-31-2012, How to Plant (Design) a garden..Mass versus Specimen Planting 2-17-2011, Some outdoor Christmas decorating projects that you can leave up All Winter 11-26-2011