We are here. Dead of winter. Everything looks brown and cold and lifeless.
Or does it?
The longer I garden, the more easily I can see the future garden in the plants at rest. It feels like a superpower. Like garden X-Ray vision. When we leave the plants up for the winter, that superpower is easier to illustrate.
As you can see above, the mountain mint does not look like much when it is at rest. The sturdy stems stay upright through the cold winter months, providing architecture in the pollinator garden. I enjoy seeing the little gray tufts where the flowers once were. In my mind’s eye I see the picture on the right. Soft blue-green foliage and tiny flowers covered with eager pollinators. Everything has a season. This mountain mint will once again green up in the spring and develop thousands of flowers for all to enjoy.
The Pollinator Garden is such a great example of this forward garden vision. When I visit the garden at this time of year, I see the sead heads of brown-eyed susan, mountain mint, grasses and fennel. I recognize these old plant friends and see them in their heyday in my mind’s eye.
This vision has been a gift to me and I wish to give it to all of you as well. When we see a garden at rest, we can also allow ourselves the joy of knowing that it does not stay this way. We all need time to recharge and so do plants. The winter rest is the power-up for a year of growth and bloom.
Lest you think everything truly is brown this time of year, I follow with this lovely plant. X-Ray vision is not always necessary since not all plants live a colorless winter life. Bugle, for example, develops a rich purple tone in cold weather. The ‘Mahogany’ cultivar in the Trough Garden is quite vivid this time of year. It feels like a little hidden treat that I always relish.
Wherever you are in your garden appreciation, I hope you will see plants with a fresh eye. Their value does not diminish with a change in temperature. We simply need a fresh perspective.
As one last treat, here is the same crabapple tree featured at the top in May from the opposite angle (fresh perspective, indeed).