Excerpt from From the Spirit of Gardening.

Winter is more quiet and introspective time.  The sky is paler blue, the days are shorter, and less time is spend out in the garden—if any time at all.  In most areas, Nature uses this season to rest.

The focus shifts to the design of the landscape, the structures, and foundation plantings.  The color and texture of bark, the shape of branches, and the form of trees and shrubs take on new importance.  Deep greens look restful and saturated with color against a wintry sky—while bright reds are bold contrast to the subdued background.

Shrubs with bright red berries are cheering with their tiny dots of color.  Red flowers, too, brighten the landscape.  In our climate, early camellias come into full bloom in the middle of winter.  If your winter temperatures do not drop much below freezing, then the cheerful pansies may do well filling pots or flowerbeds in your garden.  Prim roses, too, have a charming shape and presence, and come in a lively choice of colors.

If the winter months feel dreary to you, and the flowers can’t handle the cold in your garden, then bring blooms indoors to brighten your spirits.  Cyclamen and the “Christmas cactus” are popular wintertime plants that may do well in your home.  You can buy fresh flowers, too, as a reminder of your garden in bloom.  Or dress up the garden with strings of lights on a tree, arbor, walkway, or special place when you can see from a window.  The festive lighting will give you a friendly greeting in every kind of weather.

No matter which time of year is your favorite, plan your landscape to have some color or interest during every season.  Then your garden will remain an inspiration all throughout the year.

Nancy Mair, is a professional landscape designer and part of a team of artisans specializing in custom home renovation throughout Northern California. Nancy is also an accomplished check and the best-selling author of books on cooking and conscious living.  She is the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award in landscape design by the California Landscape Contractor’s Association.

Few people have the diverse background that Nancy Mair has:  she has been a profiessional skier, hot air ballon pilot, flight instructor, construction foreman, advanced first aid trainer, and volunteer firefighter.  Nancy and her husband Kerry, are responsible for all the beauty at Crystal Hermitage Gardens.

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