is something that most gardeners hope for. Although it is possible to have flowers for most ( if not all) months of the year, it is not the flowers alone that make a garden beautiful and interesting. On the contrary, many things are far more important than mere flowers in the garden. Don't get me wrong, I love flowers like the next person, probably more so, but there's more to making a garden look good than flowers alone.
If you live in a temperate climate zone like me, you can have flowers in abundance for 6 months of the year. The rest of the year the garden is either growing (spring) or in decline (autumn) and both seasons can give you quite a few blooms too. That leaves us with 2 months where not a lot seems to be happening in the garden (December and January) and most shrubs, plants and trees look about as interesting as paint drying. It's in those months that the garden is stripped back to its bare bones and beauty, true beauty is all about bone structure (same as with humans).
Part of the bones of the garden are hard materials such paving materials, decking and fences but plants can also form a part of the skeleton of your garden.
Here I've used box as ornaments and as a hedge, to separate the plants from the paving.
Box is an evergreen and is used in my garden a lot.
Now that many plants are disappearing the box balls are coming to the fore and give structure and interest to my garden during the winter season. They also provide rhythm, as 2 balls are planted at the foot of each pyramid (repetition is the name of the game).
It's amusing to see how much the box stands out now, while during summer they were hardly noticeable.
In my front garden I've used box to form rectangular flower beds. The box edging gives structure to the garden and it's good for providing winter interest to. Here it is combined with a hedge of Berberis (barberry) and with white lavender.
That way I have always at least 3 colours in my garden: green, grey and burgundy red which is great when there isn't much else to look at in the garden.
But you can use other plants for winter interest too, just look at my kitchen garden hedge of Fagus sylvatica.
Those pretty brown leaves will stay on all winter long and contrast nicely with the green of the other hedges and lawn. An added bonus is that these hedges will also provide some shelter against the cold winds for the first seedlings in early spring.
As it is nice to look at something pretty in the garden during wintertime, I've put my garden table in front of the living room window and dressed it up a bit. And I've hung the pergola, where once the grapes were growing, full of stuff to feed the birds. It's great fun to look at birds in the garden, especially when not a lot else is going on.
Making sure that your garden has excellent bones is important, but there's nothing wrong with adding a bit of decoration here and there just to brighten things up a bit.
copyright 2007: Y.E.W. Heuzen
The satisfaction of a garden does not depend upon the area, nor, happily, upon cost or rarity of plants. It depends upon the temper of the person. One must first seek to love plants and nature, and then to cultivate that happy peace of mind which is satisfied with little.
L.H. Bailey, Garden-Making, 1808