I know some people try to ignore winter as if looking the other way will make it disappear, but the fact is, in areas like this (Ontario, Canada) it’s here over six months of year, and survival means finding a way to find the beauty in it. Or die trying.
I happen to be one of those freaks who finds winter incredibly beautiful. I would much rather have snow covering everything than look at the sad old perennials and brown grass. Plus, the snow provides essential protection for the plants. It’s ice and wind that wreaks havoc.
I like garden art that can stay out year round. Otherwise, the summers seem so brief that I feel like I’ve just put it out when it’s time to come back in again. So out it stays! And it looks really good.
Nothing like some freezing cold weather to unite us all. When I put out fresh bird feed each day, summertime territorial wars are forgotten. Everyone, squirrels included, just wants some sustenance. The flocks of juncos are the most playful, with their funny toy-like peeps.
Sometimes severe cold snaps come and the wild things come closer, finding warmth wherever they can. Mice start sneaking into the house. Possums start sleeping in the composter!
Sorry. Didn’t mean to wake you!
For all it’s good, winter leaves us hungry for colour and that’s where some bling is essential. I adore the look of blue glass, beads, and marbles in the snowy light.
Sometimes we get rainbows and sundogs in the winter sky. You can see one in the lower right image (below).
At the end of summer, I leave almost all my perennials to go to seed for the birds to feed on them until the new growth begins again in spring. While unsightly, they serve an important purpose. Others, like the milk pod (below), are the flowers of winter. So beautiful.
There is nothing quite as striking as the red flash of red cardinal on a snowy gray day. In honour of this, I recently dubbed my garden the Cardinal Cafe.
While most things will have to wait until April or May to begin growing again, some years I grow vegetables during the winter, hidden under the lids of the raised beds. It’s another way to defy the calendar.
We think of this as a dormant time, but really, life in the winter garden carries on. It’s just hidden under the snow, flitting to the feeders, or snoring in the composter!