An unexpected bonus of the new design is its winter appeal: "After the first year, I realized how dramatic the installation looked in the snow.” The snow caps the beams and forms mini-sculptures as it melts, while the long, crisp shadows cast on it by the posts meld with the curving, asymmetrical shadows of tree branches. All is simple and serene: just what José was after.
Tips for adding winter interest
Light, shadows, patterns and contrasting textures are a garden’s best assets in winter.
- If practical, leave obelisks, trellises and benches in place. They become lacy sculptures as snow falls on their multi-faceted surfaces.
- Include plants or shrubs with textured or colourful bark or branches such as paperbark maple (Acer griseum), river birch (Betula nigra), some dogwoods (e.g., Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’, C. sanguinea ‘Winter Beauty’, C. sericea ‘Flaviramea’), Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica) and burning bush (Euonymus alatus).
- Plants with berries that hold through winter, such as chokeberry (Aronia spp.) and winterberry (Ilex verticillata), add another layer of detail.
- Spare the seedheads of ornamental grasses, purple coneflowers (Echinacea pallida and purpurea), sedums, black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida) and false indigo (Baptisia australis) during fall cleanup. They punctuate drifts of snow, and some provide food for birds.