By Jeanne DeBenedetti Keyes
After more than a week of below freezing temperatures and cold winds, most of the perennials are dry, brown husks and yet to my eye, the garden is still beautiful and interesting.
I love to be out in my garden in the winter. The smallest details have more impact.
Evergreen or variegated plants, rocks, and paths all provide structure and interest in the winter garden.Although the ferns in this photo to the left, have dry edges, they have a lovely texture and color and provide contrast with the browns and grays of the log.
A light, morning snow delineates the intricate details of moss and ice crystals on the leaves and in the frozen soil of this photo. The maidenhair fern, (Adiantum sp.), curls its leaves in an effort to protect itself from harsh winds. Rhododendron, camellia and other large-leaved evergreen trees and shrubs use this same mechanism to conserve water.
Here, the basalt rocks define the edge of the bed, providing structure and separating the garden from the path. Again, snow provides an added punch to the scene, accentuating the curve of the path.
Foliage also plays an important role in the winter garden.Small, waxy leaves like the blue needles of Pinus kwantungensis, in the photograph to the left, are another method for conserving moisture and surviving cold, dry winds.
This pine, like many other conifers and the nandina (Nandina compacta) pictured deepen or change color with cold temperatures, adding another level of interest to the winter garden.
The rich, green leaves of bamboo (Fargesia murieliae) offer much needed color along with a contrast in texture to the serrated edges of the sword ferns (Polystichum munitum), and small, rounded leaves of the nandinas (Nandina domesticata) in the background.