Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

Consider Your Gardens “Bones” in Winter January 16, 2012

Does your garden have eye-catching focal points during the long months of winter? I hope the answer is yes! But, if not, this is the best time of the year to spend taking inventory of your gardens weaker points when it comes to structure or what we Designer types refer to as the “Bones” of the garden.

'Crimson Queen' Japanese Maple

This Maple sits outside my dining room, framed perfectly by the window. It’s stunning year round. They are covered in snow here, but in the pot are some stainless steel balls that look so cool! One thing that I always take note of this time of the year when I look at the deciduous shrubs and trees is their form. Do they need to be pruned for shape, directing growth or opening them up for more light?

Blooms from Hydrangea Paniculata Standard 'Angel Blush'

One of the beautiful things I appreciate in the garden are the summer plants that I leave for winter interest. I purposely leave the dried blooms on this Hydrangea because I adore the way they look in winter. Then I trim then back just as they bud out in spring.

Zebra Grass plumes in the snow

Miscanthus 'Morning Light' with Leucothoe 'Rainbow'

Another key element to consider when you are analyzing your winter garden and planning for spring planting is to note how much balance you have between your evergreen plants versus your deciduous or perennial plants. Do you need more of one or the other?

Pinus 'Thunderhead' with Miscanthus Zebrinus

The dark green of this Pine and the tones of the grass together with all of the texture is yummy!

This shot really spoke to me about considering the “Bones” the most. The pure white snow just makes it so stark and easy to concentrate on the shapes, lines, proportion and textures without the distraction of color. I recommend frequently that my clients  stand back or go upstairs and take shots from a distance and print them in black and white for just THIS purpose. Without the distraction of color, you can really SEE the “Bones”.

Below, see my friend and Plantsman extraordinaire, Mitch Evans garden illustrating my point perfectly! From the entry arch to conifers, to PALMS? :-) to deciduous trees and shrubs, it’s easy to see the shapes and textures that are SO showy this time of the year!

Photo courtesy of Mitch Evans

Photo courtesy of Mitch Evans

Mitch uses these well pruned boxwood to expertly frame this Weeping ‘Camperdown’ Elm.

Even your Garden Art can get some attention for where it’s placed, how you view it, or what you have it paired with for it’s best showing.

Don’t miss your next opportunity to take a deeper look at your garden and evaluate the “Bones” this winter. Then when you’re hitting the ground running in your spring garden, you will know exactly where to start!

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13 Responses to “Consider Your Gardens “Bones” in Winter”

  1. I love this post. Yes I think the bones of the garden are most important.

  2. […] is a blog named Personal Garden Coach very creative and smart don’t you think?  The blog explains why […]

  3. Kathy Says:

    I love this post especially the zebra grass! You are so good taking these photo’s!

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Thanks Kathy! I adore taking garden Photos- it’s my passion nest to actually working with the plants. :-)

  4. Good message and great shots. Bones look so much bonier (and bonnier) when decked in white.

  5. Lovely post, Christina. I sometimes look around the garden in winter and wish I could plant right now, because I get different ideas in winter than I do during the growing months. Of course here, we normally get huge whalloping of snow, not just a light dusting. This, however, isn’t a normal winter.

  6. great pix! It reminds me to stop and enjoy the beauty of the season enhanced by fabulous garden plantings!

  7. Ann Johnson Says:

    A perfect time of year to reexamine why some parts of a garden that look fabulous don’t work in the winter months. Thanks for your well thought out photos and creativity on this all to important subject.

  8. Great post! We actually choose half our plants for fall and winter interest. Thanks for showing that even under snow, the bones matter!

  9. Thomas Fortune Work Centre Gardening Group Says:

    I like Hydrangea more in the winter than at any other time. Beautiful pictures.

  10. Good “bones” in the garden are very important and your article covers the concept beautifully. I especially like the photo of the weeping japanese maple-very graceful framework in the snow. Very informative!

  11. Isn’t it interesting how we can make beauty from God’s design. Absolutely great creativity in this eye. Bones in this case mean a time of dormancy, yet an ultimate time of bareness and splendor in the morning sun.

  12. Ronna Says:

    Many people tend to think that once the first frost arrives, they won’t have to worry about the garden until the next spring. No more pulling weeds, hoeing, digging, pruning, watering or raking. The truth is, the idea that the gardening is over once you pull that last carrot or snip that last rose, is completely wrong. If you put some time in during the fall to do a little cleaning, maintenance and planning, you can save yourself lot of work when gardening season rolls around next spring.
    Roof Replace


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