Thinking About A Design For The Winter Garden

For an article in the current winter number of Onze Eigen Tuin (Our Own Garden) I was asked to show the beauty in the transition from autumn to winter in the garden landscape. What might be seen as chaos and disorder to some can in fact be very beautiful when carefully observed. Dying and “dead”, many perennials are incredible beautiful at the end of their yearly cycle. Having enjoyed the photos I found in my existing picture archives I decided to take a few new ones in this exceptional year for comparison and design inspiration.

Rubus, Osmanthus, Asters and Ornamental Grasses
Rubus thibetanus ‘Silver Fern’

So far autumn has been mild and the plants in the garden seem to be reacting in different ways. Some are still flowering and actively growing, but others follow the calendar and have fully committed to their winter state – dead looking. The resulting impressions are different this year as a result.

Mahonia ‘Winter Sun’

Contrasts of green plants and fully senescent perennials with their beautiful seed heads seem to be everywhere this year. Its a pity I didn’t have a few of these pictures available for the Dutch garden magazine article.

Vernonia crinita

In truth the impression our garden’s make in autumn and winter should be high on our list of priorities when putting together any good planting design.

Miscanthus Ornamental Grass
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Hermann Mussel’