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For today at least, Winter is OK

I’ve noticed an interesting pattern with my blog posts of late. One day it’s “Winter isn’t so bad, look at all the interesting textures and the plant interplay with snow and ice.” The next day it’s “This sucks, let’s look backward or forward and reminisce about actual living blooms or healthy foliage.” A bit schizophrenic if you will.
And that just about sums it up for me. While I’ve come to appreciate the winter garden more and more and its beautiful subtlety, I still long for the days when I couldn’t keep up with the pruning or deadheading or even the weeding.       
Today was one of those “Winter ain’t so bad” days as I wandered the yard for the first time in two weeks. We have had brutally cold temps for days now but that wasn’t going to stop me in my quest for the beloved “winter interest”. Frost bite and runny nose be damned; we are getting some pics up in here.
There is no better example of winter awesomeness than the peeling bark on trees. Throw in some late afternoon sun and you’ve got yourself a cornucopia of interest:   
River Birch

Multi-trunked River Birch 

‘Winter King’ Hawthorn

Without any leaves or flowers in sight, it is an awesome opportunity to get up close and personal with the tree limbs and enjoy their subtle colors and textures:  

‘Winter King’ Hawthorn 

Next, we move on to the deciduous shrubs. Many offer great branch color that contrasts so well with all of the surrounding “brown-ness”:

‘Henry’s Garnet’ Itea

Dappled willow

Or even their own version of peeling bark hidden deep inside all of that shrubbery:

Ninebark

Of course, I couldn’t compose a winter post without some reference to an ornamental grass, and for today, I was digging the spent “blooms” on a patch of ‘Karl Foerster’ grass:

I even find interest in the spent siberian irises, with their dead foliage lit up by not only the winter sun, but also the snow at their feet:

The spent seedheads of the bee balms …

A reminder of what was and what will be:

Same goes with the obedient plants … 

And their once crisp white blooms:

The aforementioned siberian iris and their seedpods add a certain look to the landscape …  

Although they cannot compare to their “spring look”:
And finally, a lonely bud bides its time until …   

It puts on a show for both the eyes, and more impressively, the nose:   

Be on the lookout for the next post which will go back to winter denial/hatred.

John

10 thoughts on “For today at least, Winter is OK”

  1. How does that Winter King Hawthorne deal with the wet clay? I’m looking for a small tree with red or orange berries. I figure if it grows where you live, it will for me. Any crabapples?

  2. I think at this time of year it’s difficult not to have good and bad days, they bad days are soon forgotten when we see something coming back to life.
    Those are gorgeous pictures!

  3. You make winter look nice. I loved the contrast of your plants in summer and then the shot of their dried seed heads or stalks, comparing two states of season for specific plants.

  4. Hi John, such photos as those you’ve posted here (and my own) really help me make it through these northeastern winters! So, yes, winter was okay while I was viewing your lovely photos!

    And I’d like you to answer the following question (I know the answer, just checking to see if you do.)
    Do roses have thorns or prickles? Provide support for your answer. :)

  5. The winter garden has it’s own beauty as shown by your post. Love the photos especially the birch tree bark.
    My biggest issue with winter where we live would be clouds and rain, I’d rather have cold (without the rain).

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