Showing the Bones of the Garden

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When the wind is not blowing the Pacific storms directly into the face or down the neck – November and December being fine times for such events – we can take the opportunity to stand back and review the garden space: look at where all that water goes (or not), then take in the overall composition of the surroundings as well as the details in the garden….. perhaps take notes for a task list. I like to take a camera and record the bare bones of the garden that hold everything together throughout the year.

Also, those colder frosty mornings are particularly good for discovering a whole new winter garden: the photo above shows the wonder of local sandstone bordering an entry pathway, with moss, leaf litter and Sedum succulents, all dusted with frost. Now to my mind it would be at the very least overly tidy to have brushed it with suds or in this age of power tools to pressure wash it clean to bare rock (there are such rare but necessary instances). While admiring the chilled world around, again take that camera and record the long deep shadows where the sun does not melt the frost, or where there are other areas (frost pockets) where some types of plants do not thrive.

Finally, keep your eyes open for the first bulbs that herald the coming of spring: winter aconites, snowdrops, crocus flowers, early daffodils, and so on. We do not want to step on those. Come the joys of spring and summer those flirty plants will likely confuse us with distracting temporary shows, and we will be glad to have taken the time to step out this winter and opened our eyes to another dimension of gardening, one that is more permanent and mature, and the framework in which to hang our changing floral displays.

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