I managed to plant all the plants for my new winter garden on what was a warm December day. With temperatures in the 50's it was somewhat pleasant, which is about the best you can expected from December in Tennessee. You're probably wondering which plan I decided to go with, the Symmetrical Plan or the Asymmetrical Plan. The answer was neither! Inspiration struck over the weekend and a new idea formed. I added another kind of plant that, while it won't provide winter color, will give us a burst of blooms in the spring. The goal of a winter garden should be to provide year round color from a variety of sources which is hopefully what I've accomplished, after all winter is only one of four seasons.
In the picture to the right you can see what the area looked like just before I planted. The Yoshino Cherry is standing between the two rocks. The new garden went in to the left of the tree. What plants are the foundation of this winter garden? Three red twig dogwoods, two Bird's Nest Spruces, two Cotoneasters, a Schip laurel, three rosemary plants, and two redbuds. I came home this weekend with 6 transplanted redbuds and placed them in the yard. Two of them are now forming corners of this garden. They are spaced far enough away from the Yoshino Cherry so that all the trees will have plenty of room to grow. Redbuds tend to be shade tolerant and would do fine underneath the cool shade of a cherry tree. These redbuds are small with the tallest at only three and a half feet tall. Since redbuds are slow to moderate growers the Yoshino cherry should have no real competition for light and will become the dominate tree in the garden. I can't wait to look out the window in the springtime and see the white flowers of the Yoshino flanked by the pink blooms of the redbuds. I may consider trimming the redbuds to keep them on the small side but they have a long way to grow before that should be necessary.
Here's the winter garden now after planting. Admittedly it doesn't look terribly impressive right now. After I mulched around each plant I covered the spaces in between with collected maple leaves to kill off the grass underneath. In the spring I'll cover the spaces with newspaper and mulch the whole area. The leaves make the small plants very hard to see but I added annotations to help with identifying where the plants are. In the front of the garden I'll add an additional planting area to round out the garden with annuals and perennials for spring through summer (see Future Planting Area).
The picture on the right was taken on the left side of the garden looking toward the street. At the top of the bed is one of the Redbuds. The cotoneasters are on the left and the Schip laurel is planted closer to the house and to the right of the cotoneasters. It should provide evergreen color interest.When it grows larger it will stand behind the redtwig dogwoods and form a green backdrop to help highlight the red stems.
The two Bird's Nest Spruces are planted near each other as a small evergreen grouping toward the front side of the bed. In this last picture the red twig dogwoods are planted in a diagonal pattern. It's here that I'll add one of the most fun elements, a dry creek bed. The dry creek bed will only be for decoration and not for drainage. It will start near the Schip laurel then travel either between the first two dogwoods and skirt around them toward the front or go between the last two dogwoods and skirt toward the front. I'll play with it some and see what looks best.
It's all planted, at least for now. I'll add to it as the inspiration hits. Unfortunately you won't be able to see how it all works until next winter when the plants have grown a bit but as spring progresses I'll highlight the garden's growth process. I wonder how ornamental grasses would look on the top side?
Previous Winter Gardening Posts:
Designing the Winter Garden: Aspectual Musings
Designing the Winter Garden: Starting Small
Designing the Winter Garden: A Symmetrical Plan
Designing the Winter Garden: An Asymmetrical Plan
Labels: garden design, garden thoughts, winter color