Let’s give a big cheer for winter!
Okay, I’m probably in the minority, but I have a soft spot for the season, and it doesn’t have anything to do with living in a warm climate like Florida or Southern California. Nor do I have a hobby like skiing or snowmobiling to provide a ready-made reason for liking cold, snowy weather.
To me, winter is a convenient excuse to curl up on the couch and watch a “Bonanza” or “Big Valley” cowboy marathon on TV or to read an old dusty novel that sadly hasn’t had a page turned in 80 years.
Plus, winter allows time for taking stock of the year just finished and looking forward to the one just beginning. What more could an armchair philosopher ask for?
Okay, how about beauty? You know, it’s not always about colorful flowers. Nature has other ways to capture the heart even in its “off” season. Observe.
Evergreens shine in winter. Suddenly, they’re without competition. And if you live where winters are snowy, like I do, then you get a little frosting with your cake. Nice!
Sure, ornamental grasses are a staple of fall. But as birds know and gardeners are discovering, those grasses are worth a second look in winter, too -- with or without snow.
Spent marigold blooms -- I always make sure to leave some in place late in the season. They produce a nice crop of seeds for free plants in spring, and they offer muted color that looks nice with lamb’s ears.
Nature does some of her finest work up close. Take a look at the ice crystals forming on the colorful linden tree buds. A miniature masterpiece!
With other color lacking, the winter sky looks bluer than ever. Couple it with the bright berries of American bittersweet (pictured), or holly and you’ve got quite the sight. Both linger late into the season, so the show most definitely will go on!
And in late winter, when the snow is dissipating and the mud is accumulating, nature provides one more piece of inspiration: the colorful, frilly blooms of witch hazel (pictured).
Like crocus, witch hazel provides a bridge from the dormancy of winter to the vibrancy of spring -- a teaser, if you will, to coax us out of our late-winter doldrums and get us excited about the gardening season ahead.
It seems there’s no lack of beauty in winter. All you gotta do is look around.