Designing the Winter Garden: A Symmetrical Plan

Now before you go looking at my hand drawn art please note that I do not claim to be an artist, just a gardener. The paint I am used to is usually accompanied by foliage, flowers, and fruit. The "artistic rendering" below is intended to illustrate the image inside my head for one of the two concepts for the winter garden. The illustrations in this post and in tomorrow's post hopefully will give you enough of an idea that you may be able to offer suggestions about the placement of the plants. In the end I may decide to take your suggestions, go with the original plan, or even do something completely different!

So now that I've given you the disclaimer here's the drawing!

This view is all about symmetry. Symmetry in the garden can be great but does have some pitfalls. If one plant dies and the other survives then it may be difficult to match the original with a replacement. Symmetry looks very organized which makes natural looking plants feel a little out of place. That being said I think this plan could work nicely.

The Yoshino Cherry tree stands in the middle and is flanked by the cranberry cotoneasters. To the front would be two red twig dogwoods. Toward the back would be the Bird's nest spruces and in each "corner" of the garden would be a rosemary plant. There are a few plants that I put in the picture that would be worked around these foundation plants including several irises, creeping phlox (not purchased yet I'll wait until spring for them), and a couple 'Mystic spires' salvias. I plan on keeping at least 5 foot radius clear around the base of the tree to prevent any damage to the Yoshino's roots while digging. Most of the trees roots will live in the top layers of the soil, not down deep in the ground which makes it important to provide adequate moisture or add complimentary plants underneath. Sedums make good choices for underplanting trees since they are extremely tolerant of drought conditions so I may add some 'Dragon's Blood' sedum in the spring. The whole garden is on a slope and most of the moisture should move toward the red twig dogwoods.

This is just one plan and it has its problems. I think I like my second plan better as its layout is asymmetrical and groups the plants rather than spreads them out. I'll show you that one tomorrow, stay tuned!

I have a couple of Schip laurels that I am considering adding to the plan. I would probably put them behind the Yoshino between the Bird's Nest spruces if I move them a little farther apart.

Previous Posts on Winter Gardening:
Designing the Winter Garden: Aspectual Musings
Designing the Winter Garden: Starting Small

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