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Evergreen Structure for Year Round Garden Interest

Evergreens: The Structure That Holds It All Together

As a garden designer, I know that creating year-round interest in the garden is one of the most important – yet often overlooked – aspects of any landscape. You see, most gardeners get so enamored with the colorful and overflowing nursery aisles that they forget about the long game. They end up with beautiful beds in May and June, only to be left with a gaping, lifeless hole come winter.

But not me – oh no! I live for the challenge of designing gardens that shine in every season. And at the heart of my approach? Evergreen plants. These stalwart shrubs and trees are the structural backbone that hold the garden together, even when everything else is bare and dormant.

The Winter Moonscape Dilemma

You see, I live in a temperate zone 9 climate, which means my gardens are on display year-round. There’s no hiding under a forgiving blanket of snow for me – nope, it’s all out there in the open, for better or for worse. And without that thoughtful placement of evergreen structure, I’ll tell you, those winter months can be downright depressing.

Imagine walking through your garden in January or February, only to be greeted by a barren “winter moonscape” – just bare branches and empty spaces as far as the eye can see. It’s enough to make even the most avid gardener want to throw in the trowel and hibernate until spring!

But not on my watch. I’ve made it my mission to ensure that every single one of my garden designs has the proper evergreen “bones” to keep things looking lively and engaging, even in the dead of winter.

Evergreen Anchors

The key, I’ve found, is to strategically incorporate a range of evergreen plants – from towering conifers to lower-growing shrubs – that provide structure, form, and year-round interest.

Take the Blue Spruce, for example. With its bold, rounded silhouette, this evergreen giant is an absolute godsend in the winter garden. Even when blanketed in snow, its sturdy shape and deep blue-green foliage create a focal point that anchors the entire landscape.

Or how about the Dwarf Alberta Spruce? This diminutive conifer’s compact, triangular form is the perfect counterpoint to the Blue Spruce’s voluminous curves. Scattered throughout the garden, these little spruces add dimension and visual interest, even when their neighbors have long since gone dormant.

Evergreen shrubs can play a crucial role as well. Whether it’s the glossy, leathery leaves of the Sarcococca or the whimsical, feathery foliage of the Coleonema, these low-growing plants fill in the gaps and keep things looking lush and vibrant, even in the depths of winter.

Deciduous Accents

Of course, evergreens aren’t the only players in my winter garden lineup. Carefully selected deciduous plants can also add a touch of drama and visual intrigue when the weather turns cold.

Take the Contorted Filbert, for example – also known as Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick. During the summer, this shrub’s twisted, gnarled branches are largely hidden by its unassuming leaves. But in winter? Oh, my – that’s when those curlicue silhouettes really come into their own, adding an unmistakable sense of sculptural elegance to the landscape.

And let’s not forget the Japanese Maple. Sure, these graceful trees are justly famous for their fiery fall foliage. But have you seen one in the dead of winter? With their delicate, lace-like branching patterns, they take on an almost otherworldly quality, like nature’s own work of art.

By strategically pairing these deciduous accents with my evergreen anchors, I’m able to create a sense of depth, texture, and visual interest that keeps the garden looking captivating, even when most plants have long since gone to sleep.

The Importance of Seedheads and Faded Flowers

Of course, it’s not just about the structural elements in my winter garden – I also make sure to leave plenty of room for the quieter, more subtle forms of beauty.

Take those faded hydrangea blooms, for example. Sure, they may not be as showy as their summertime counterparts, but I just love the way they take on those warm, golden hues as the months grow colder. And the seedheads of plants like Monch Aster? Absolute perfection, if you ask me – delicate, airy, and with a touch of whimsy that just screams “winter wonderland.”

Even my neighbors have a hard time understanding my affinity for these “spent” flowers and seed pods. But to me, they’re just as essential to the winter garden as those evergreen anchors. They add softness, texture, and a touch of natural beauty that can’t be replicated by any man-made decoration.

Plus, let’s not forget the vital role they play in supporting our local wildlife. Those seed heads? They’re a veritable feast for the birds. And those dried, faded blooms? They provide cozy, protected nooks and crannies for all sorts of beneficial insects to hunker down and weather the storm.

Bringing It All Together

So, there you have it – my formula for creating an evergreen-centric winter garden that’s equal parts structure and surprise. By carefully curating a mix of towering conifers, shapely deciduous accents, and those quiet, subtle touches, I’m able to craft landscapes that keep the eye engaged and the spirit uplifted, even when the rest of the world has gone into hibernation.

And you know what? It’s not just me who’s caught the evergreen bug. Just take a stroll through the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle – those brilliant, glass-blown sculptures may grab all the attention, but it’s the carefully curated evergreen plantings that truly make the space shine.

So, if you’re ready to take your garden to the next level and create a year-round oasis of interest and delight, then I urge you to embrace the power of evergreens. Trust me, your winter self will thank you!

And who knows – maybe I’ll even see you at the Today’s Gardens nursery, picking out your new favorite structural superstars. After all, a garden is never truly finished – it’s an ever-evolving work of art, and I can’t wait to see what you create.

Today’s Garden is Garden and Landscape Company, provides all you need about Garden and Landscape Design to get better garden decorations.

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