We did get that dump of fluffy snow, transforming the garden, bringing peaceful white to cushion, calm and cover. Smooth mounds mark undercover stones, spiky brown reaches through fleecy white, and tucked in pots pouf with vanilla muffin tops. The arbour in rough grey stands guard over hibernating inhabitants. The winter bouquets are iced like cakes. The garden lies sleeping under its downy warm blanket.
I feel lacking in my snow photos this winter. Usually we have had several deep, fluffy dumps of snow to provide much fodder for pretty pictures. This year we are light on the snow – the garden is white, but with no depth. And we have had cold temps, so hang in there dear garden that I know prefers a protective thick blanket. I always leave a good amount of standing perennials for interest. Their structure gives the snow a place to settle; their colour gives contrast to stark, cold white; their height adds dimension and interest. Not to mention being great bird perches and food sources. This year’s fine crystal snow has sifted and sprinkled through the garden. The grey disc bloom of yarrow holds snow like a palm. A spiky coneflower seed head stands to attention with its pearly cap. Autumn Joy sedum still puts on a show with textured cinnamon brown capturing icy white. The skeleton of a Chinese lantern hides its orange fruit beneath white frosting. And thank goodness for our evergreens like this nest spruce, adding green even if it is decorated with lacy white.
Each year I buy several ‘beyond zone’ herb plants to have in pots. I love the addition of exotic scents and textures. The curry plant above has exquisite detailed gray-green leaves in a petite shrub form. Last winter I expected this curry plant to be a casualty. It was left in its 9” pot on the back patio amongst a few other pots of annuals – I often leave frost proof pots as-is for winter interest. Over the season as I shoveled droves of snow, much was piled on top of those pots. The curry plant is hardy to zone 8 or 9 (versus my zone 5), yet to my sheer delight it started to grow up fresh last spring and had another successful summer. Apparently piled snow was the deep, protective layer this plant needed. Of course it was about 6 feet plus of snow, so that is quite the blanket! Little accidents will teach and thrill you in the garden. This year I am purposefully reenacting the scenario to see if I can orchestrate the same results!
Much as we have had a few dumps of snow, only traces remain. This snow is scattered in little pockets of crystal jewels strewn through the garden, hugged amongst the chilled plants. Nests of tiny diamonds sparkle on knotty wood, are held fast in the fuzz of lamb’s ears, and sugar still green moss. Wee star gems highlight the copper of fallen cedar, and dot the evergreen foliage of rock cress. The birdbath is dusted in crystalline…it just takes a moment to notice the hidden beauty.
Awoke to another fluffy white landscape today! The last snow melted just in time for the arrival of this second frosty layer. I need at least one more day of ‘non-snow’ to mulch the last of the leaves, to cut the grass one last time, and to top up mulch around this year’s new plantings. Please Mother Nature, can I have just a couple more days of autumn glory?!