Depth in the winter garden

I wanted a nice view. One to gaze upon as I pondered the vegetable garden expansion. The comfy chair was pulled here and there until I happened on this view.  It was not only the colors that pleased my eye.  It was the layers.

I noticed the interesting contrast of textures, like the wisps of the spirea’s withered leaves against the solid block of fencing.  The snow speckled boxwood grounds the scene.  While other shapes draw the eye out to imposing blue spruce who tower over the scene.   In the middle a splash of blue.


Winter 2018

The importance of layering in a garden comes up time and again in my readings.  Often the advice is presented as a guide for planting a single bed.  Tall in the back, then medium in the middle and short in the front.  How simple right?  But even with planting taller plants towards the back and shorter in the front my yard doesn’t resemble such lovely scenes like those in  The Layered Garden, by Brian Culp.   Somehow the lessons hadn’t sunk in.  Brian believes the shape of plants give a garden its drama.  To help see how shapes play in the garden, he suggested viewing garden pictures in black and white to see how it really looks.   I did this back in 2011 and the main flower bed is much different now.

The garden in black and white


The back fence is still an issue.  Over the years I’ve removed many horribly shaped shrubs and the green monster ( a hedge of ill repute).  While the slate is relatively blank, so too is the garden bed.  The raised rock lined bed was created in 2012.   And its had many plants in it since then but nothing has really taken shape.

I’ve always known  the bed and fence needed more depth.  But I never looked beyond the plane of the garden bed to create it.  The picture below is from spring of 2016. The evergreen on the left died of thirst in the winter of 2017.

While searching for ways to create depth, for this area I researched all kinds of techniques.  Tromp L’oil, mirrors, and layering greenery.  There are so many creative ways to tackle this flat plane.  Instead of repeating myself I will just review my previous post!




Garden Design – Creating Depth


So with these ideas I have come up with the following design:


bad pic but a start

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