The garden is looking a little tired and cold now. The pond border is largely bleached of colour, enlivened by the evergreen leaves of the Hellebores and the impressively tough snapdragons which are clinging on. The Hakonechloa macra is still showing some remnants of autumn gold, but everything else is pale, like the frost that clings to the fallen birch leaves.
There is an empty feeling to most of the garden now, as if it is retreating to the borders. The space feels lighter somehow, exposed by naked tree branches that until recently were still covered in beautiful leaves. I find I don’t mind this. It would be tempting to scrabble around for sources of more colour, but the pond border was always conceived of as a space that would reflect the march of the seasons more dramatically than other areas, with fewer if any evergreens. I will leave the skeletons of the grasses until they become too ugly to tolerate, and then enjoy the hushed pause before everything bursts into life again in the Spring.
The magnolia border is also looking more stripped bare. I cut down the stems of the Veronicastrum because they had gone completely black with frost damage, and the seed heads had gone from architectural to ugly. The Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ is really earning its keep now, I am so glad it responded well to its severe pruning earlier in the year. It is echoed by the Heuchera, but overall the look is sparse. I smile at the thought of all the bulbs that, hopefully, will burst forth come Spring, but for now, it is fairly bleak.
The oak leaved hydrangea seems to have skipped the whole “turn wonderful shades of red and orange and then drop my leaves” stage and opted for the frost-haggard look this year. A bit of a disappointment, to be honest, but I love the architectural properties it provides for most of the year so much that it is forgiven for this oversight.
Some things almost seem enhanced by their frosting.
Others flatter to deceive. The cyclamen appear battered down, scruffy.
A closer look reveals new buds waiting to unfurl. Hopefully! I am happy to be optimistic.
The Magnolia stellata dominates the space, the network of branches standing out against the dark green of the shed behind, and the ivy on the fence. Now very much a small tree rather than a large shrub, it holds everything together – and is smothered in beautiful furry buds.
I’ve never taken as much notice of how the garden looks in winter, so I am grateful to be part of the End of Month View meme hosted by Patient Gardener. Check out the comments on her own post to peer over the garden fence of other gardeners.