Front Garden, January 2, 2014

Here’s a bit of winter interest for you. This picture I think is a good argument for not cutting everything down in the fall.  A featureless garden covered with a blanket of snow would be so dull by comparison. The Joe Pye Weed ‘Gateway’ (Eutrochium purpureum subsp. maculatum) does an especially good job of standing out in the snow.

Front garden in the snow.
The front garden, January 2, 2014.

Judy took these this afternoon after taking our younger son to catch his bus back to St. Paul.

Everything looks better with fresh snow, even holiday baubles stuck in dead morning glory vines.
Everything looks better with fresh snow, even holiday baubles stuck in dead morning glory vines.

And look – it’s a Christmas miracle – the snow even makes my baubles stuck in dead morning glory vines look good. I think so, anyway.

The snow finally stopped this afternoon, and now we are told to expect the bitter cold to settle in. Ah, well.

What’s your favorite plant (no evergreens) for standing out in the winter landscape?

56 Comments on “Front Garden, January 2, 2014

  1. Hard to pick just one, there are so many; I leave almost everything, grasses can look especially good. That’s a lot of snow by the way – keep warm this weekend!

  2. Like you I do not cut back early either but we rarely have the beautiful freezes you do, my favourite two are Lythrum salicaria – purple loosestrife, grows to about 6 feet and withstands gales and rain and still looks lovely. Teasels which looks lovely whatever winter weather we get and the finches love them. Keep warm!

  3. No snow here. We had rain yesterday and the frigid cold arrives today. The current star of the garden is Prunus mume ‘Hokkai Bungo’– a Japanese flowering appricot which began flowering on the first day of winter. It has the reddest flower of any of the cultivars and is one of the earliest to bloom. My favorite P. mume is ‘Peggy Clark’, which typically blooms in late January or early February. The flowers are killed in a hard freeze, but more will open when the weather warms again.

  4. Looks beautiful, Jason. My winter favourite has to be Miscanthus sinensis Morning Light which has been a beauty and looks magical in the low sunlight. Keep warm!

  5. When I first read the title of this post, I thought it said “Frost garden”. More than frost, I would say! The sedum in front of my house support their caps of snow very well. I also like my rhododendron, as its furled leaves tell me just how cold it is.

  6. Joe Pye Weed, Echinacea–both purpurea and pallida, Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia speciosa var, sullivantii) and the now-turned brown spikes of Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum.)

  7. I’m sure I sound like a broken record in the winter, but I despise snow. I lived for 50+ years in New England, and finally realized I could move to an area where it seldom snowed and be so much happier and more relaxed in the wintertime. I can even garden in January here in the Seattle area.

    • OK, but you miss the sense of relief after coming inside from the freezing cold and the feeling returns to your limbs.

  8. Those baubles look quite funny! I think sedum look good here, although some of mine went soggy and collapsed early on, so don’t add any height. This year I didn’t cut my Perovskia right back, which looks quite nice, but it will get flattened if it snows!

    • I’ve never seen Perovskia in winter. Around here you do want plants that won’t collapse under the snow.

  9. Love the top image. I’ve always loved the way Autumn Joy looks after a nice dusting of snow. But sorry, still can’t admire the baubles, nothing personal I hope.

  10. Ummm that is a tough one, but I think my favs are the seedheads on the Siberian Iris, the spore fronds on the Ostrich Fern. Also the old blooms on the Hydrangea, Astible and Veronicastrum.

    • Hydrangea and Veronicastrum are good ones. The Ostrich fern and Siberian Iris tend to get buried in the snow during our winters.

  11. Of course, I totally agree…and the Joe Pye is a personal favorite of mine as well…it’s so very dramatic…especially contrasting with that stark, white snow 🙂

  12. I clean out about half the stalks and summer leftovers, sedum might be my favorite and I love Dallas blues panicum for its orange tint against the snow.
    Does butterfly bush count? The fountain shape with the seed heads is nice and even though it’s a shrub, I’ll cut it to the ground come springtime.

    • I don’t see why the butterfly bush shouldn’t count. All varieties of switchgrass are good for winter also.

  13. We’ve been hearing out west about your heavy snow and now about the bitter cold that’s predicted for you. Yikes! I hope you’re o.k. Of course, y’all are accustomed to such things! I love anything that holds on to brightly-colored berries (until the birds get them) in the winter- rose hips, Iris foetidissima, pyracantha, cotoneaster. Of course, I’m also really fond of the huge grasses that remain standing until I cut them down in the spring. This year I grew artichokes for the first time, let them bloom and have been enjoying the exotic looking brown seed heads all fall and winter. I also don’t cut down much until spring.

    • I agree about the winter berries. Frustratingly, the birds ate them all early this year. I guess that means I should just plant some more shrubs, Pyracantha isn’t hardy here, but cotoneaster will grow.

  14. Does a tree count? Birch trees are magical in the snow. Your Joe Pye weed looks good. I’m only grateful that we don’t have beautiful snow scenes, we can look at yours instead.

    • OK, I’ll let you count birches as they aren’t as obvious as evergreens. Yes they are beautiful throughout the year and in winter. The generally do not grow well here, though some have success with river birch or himalayan birch.

  15. Leaving plants uncut for winter interest is a great idea and the birds probably enjoy the seeds as well. We don’t get much snow here but when we do the dogwood looks nice.

  16. I think it would be the annabelle hydrangea flower heads. They manage to hang on for quite a while, and then appear to be wearing a hat in winter.

  17. I know some people like snow, but I am not one of them. As to favorite winter plant, I’d say Edgewothia. Happy new year to you and your family.

  18. Whauw you have lots of snow! My favourite plant in winter must be Sedum Spectabile, and Phlomis Russeliana. Also grasses are great.
    The hydrangea Limelight also looks good.
    By the way, we have a great website in Denmark that you might find interesting.
    It is made by 4 women who also have their own blogs. But the website is all about gardens, flowers, and everything else associated
    with gardening. The link is

    • So far only about 10″ of snow – though now it is coming down again. It does look like an awful lot, though.

  19. I’ve only started appreciating winter interest since joining the blogging world – no snow here to see how the plants I’ve left for effect work out.
    Other than evergreens I’m not quite qualified to answer that yet Jason 😉

    • Now I always thought of Scotland as having a Nordic, snowy sort of winter. How much I don’t know.

  20. Nice views of your wintry landscape! I’ve always been a fan of leaving plants/seedheads standing through the winter–partly for the birds/animals, partly for the winter interest, and partly because it’s so much more fun to cut them back when the new growth is making an appearance. Of course, there are plants that need to be cut back in autumn, but for the ones that don’t, leaving them standing just makes sense. I don’t really have a favorite, but I love the look of spiral seedheads in the snow (clematis, for example).

  21. You are absolutely right Jason, your bed wouldn’t look near as interesting if you had cut it back. This way you’ll get the benefits of the extra water that gets captured as well.

  22. Since my garden specializes in winter disinterest, I’m not sure I have a winter favorite. But I have a purple penstemon that is determined to stay green all winter, so she is currently my favorite. I admire a stubborn plant. 🙂

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