With one week left of winter, as the calendar says, I've been reflecting a bit more on the winter garden. Yes, there are many blooms popping up and new shoots springing forth so I know that Spring is almost here.
However, as a garden is in constant flux, I also am continuously tweaking and adding layers to my young town garden. This garden is between one and two years old and it is one that I am slowly installing over time.
There is a certain luxury to installing a garden all at once and, viola!, instant lushness! I sort of did that last summer with the raised concrete garden in the backyard last May. I literally planted the whole thing one stormy afternoon from a trailer load of goodies I hauled from one of my favorite nurseries. That was luxury. I rationalized the whole extravagance by telling myself that our home exchange family from Sweden that was coming for a month that July really needed to have this as a backdrop. But who was I kidding? There's nothing like a deadline to get things done.
So, a year has gone by and I'm looking at more things I'd like to add or change around. I know I would like to have a few more bold evergreens in the garden by the driveway, which we also use as our front door entrance. I am thinking of adding Texas mountain laurel, Sophora secundiflora, as well as perhaps another Will Fleming yaupon holly, Ilex vomitoria 'Will Fleming'. Both would compliment each other in form, the first with it's full oval shape and the latter with its very columnar profile. And they would give the winter garden more structure.
A great way to see what your garden is lacking is to photograph the garden in the winter. Take the picture and look for the bold shapes which should be the evergreen plants. Is it hodge-podge or is the composition pleasing? Now is the time to move things and make changes so the roots have a chance to get re-established before the hot summer season. Better yet, draw simple composition shapes right on to a print out of your photo like I did in the example below of my side garden.