Winter is here, but that doesn’t mean that there is no color in the garden. My garden is still very green. I walked through this morning and I could admire many green plants like this green creeping thyme. It grows in a small herb bed next to the house.
Very near the creeping thyme is a scattering of Forget-me-nots. They are growing near the house foundation which explains the splashes of soil. They will be blooming in blue, and white, in the early spring, but the foliage is green now, and in the spring.
This English holly is not far from the Forget-me-nots, and is next to the front stairs. On the other side of the stairs is the handsome green male English holly.
My husband was determined that when we moved into this house, which had no plantings at all, that he would not mow the lawn. Hence the plan to have very little lawn. And then we learned that our round-the-corner-son loved to mow lawns. Now he mows, and my husband just admires his work. I don’t remember all the plant names but you can enjoy the different shades of green.
We planted a small green rhododendron on the other side of the front ‘lawn’. It grows less than three feet, but it has beautiful pale pink flowers in the spring. You can see the buds have set already.
Epimediums grow in front of the house, and in the back garden. These are wonderful plants and come in many flower sizes, and you can see here that there are also different leaf shapes. Their tiny flowers bloom in the early spring. I have bought most of my epimediums from an extraordinary garden in Templeton. There are more types of epimedium than you can imagine.
Hellebores are amazing because their foliage lasts all winter long. They will grow about 18 inches tall and will gain an equal spread. I bought several early in the spring of 2021 and they all have wedding names, like Wedding Party Wedding Bells. They are beautiful and long blooming plants – sometimes called Lenten Rose.
On my way to the back of the house are some clumps of Mondo grass. At least I think that is the name. I will check again in the spring and see if I am right.
I planted grape hyacinths the third year we were creating our garden. They surprised me because after the first year of blooming, the green foliage will disappear in the summer, but by autumn all this foliage returns – and it lives all winter and spring when the grape hyacinths bloom – again. Quite miraculous!
European ginger grows happily and beautifully with its thick, shiny leaves under our river birch. It has spread slowly but nicely beneath one of our river birches. I do not have to think about the foliage coming and going over the course of the year.
I was surprised that there is so much greenery this year. Was I not paying attention before? Is our climate notably changing? No matter. I enjoy the garden in every season.
Those reading this may wonder why I have left all those leaves. Easy answer. For a long time I did remove all winter leaves, but I have learned that there is real value in those fallen leaves. Obviously you don’t want to leave inches of leaves on your lawn, but a thin layer of leaves is a natural fertilizer, and the leaves will enrich the soil
In addition, I have learned that creatures like birds, butterflies and moths depend on layers of leaves for part of their life cycles. In addition, the birds that winter in our area will depend on the bugs, insects and spiders, that live in those leaves to feed their young. That means you have to be glad the insects have something to live on so they can be eaten. This is especially important in the spring when birds are mating and having hungry baby birds.
I do have grassy paths in my garden, but most of it is given over to raised beds. I have learned that leaving the leaves (ha ha!) on the beds is a benefit to the soil – and to the wildlife in my garden.