Winter’s Subtle Beauty

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Winter’s Subtle Beauty

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru

Can you say fog?  The soupy air over melting snow has created an ethereal atmosphere in the Powell Gardens landscape today.  Love it or hate it, it is one of the seasonal experiences of our region and much of the Midwest.

Here’s the path into the Shade Native area of the Perennial Garden during the fog of January 10, 2014.  The large old Swamp White Oaks with smaller, multi-trunked Persimmon trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses, perennials’ winter stems and turf combine for a lovely landscape.

Here evergreens in the Conifer Garden provide a dark foreground with mysterious deciduous trees in the foggy background.  The evergreen in the lower right is a Glossy Abelia shrub (Abelia x grandiflora).  That shrub is quite tender but looks just fine after the “polar vortex” that was so over-blown by the media earlier in the week.

In the fog, the evergreens look almost black: Southern Magnolia on the right, Spartan Juniper in the container center and the marcescent brown foliage of a White Oak in the background right.  The traceries of deciduous trees in the background complete this composition from the south terrace of the Visitor Center.  What does your landscape look from your own home or workplace in the winter?

Hollies are one of the best plants for bright color in the winter landscape and this American Holly (Ilex opaca) still shows bright red berries despite the arctic blast earlier in the week.  I expected all the hollies to have blackened berries from the cold but most are still bright red, a good indicator the temperature didn’t drop colder than -10F.

Here’s some “berries” of the ‘Cannaertii’ cultivar of our native Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) in the sunshine from before the fog.  Hard to believe these are actually modified cones: very berry-like to entice birds to eat them and pass the seeds far and wide!  They are some tough winter color for the landscape beside being a great plant to attract colorful birds that enliven a winter landscape even more.

Typical cones are also nature’s ornaments that add to the beauty of a winter landscape.  What could be cuter than these tiny cones on the Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) in the lawn east of the Visitor Center.  This evergreen conifer is one of the few tolerant of shade but must be planted in a sheltered landscape in Greater Kansas City. Powell Gardens’ tree grows on an east facing wooded slope protected from the hot and dry west winds by the Visitor Center.

I wouldn’t miss the subtle beauty of the winter landscape and make time to hike through and observe it.  What better way to get some fresh air and exercise?  The gardens at Powell Gardens are open and the weather is returning to more seasonable temperatures.  Don’t miss scenes like the Conifer Garden above.

You can even top off your winter walk with a visit to our new Conservatory display which opens on Saturday (January 11th).  There are 3 rooms in the conservatory for you to relax and enjoy the flowers, fragrances, and decor designed by As Time Goes By and Perennial Gifts.  Be sure to sit a spell and watch the wild birds at the feeders and winter landscape outside.  Drop by and enjoy the subtle beauty of Powell Garden in winter and kiss those winter blues goodbye.