Gardens - Featured Gardens

Beauty on ice

Aldona Satterthwaite
Photography by
Tracy Cox

Rejoice in the quiet pleasures of this elegant winter garden.

If you take the time to really look at the landscape, you’ll see that although the blossoms of summer and bright colours of autumn are gone, they’ve been replaced by a subtler kind of loveliness.


Soft tones of brown, cream and grey are accented by deepened green hues, punctuated here and there with vivid counterpoints of chartreuse, cinnamon or red, as branches, bark and evergreens take on a new prominence. They stand out in sharp relief against the snow, a light dusting of which makes a graceful tracery on vines, seed heads, berries and garden ornaments, too.


With careful planning and well-chosen embellishments, even a small suburban garden—like that of Anne Quesnel, her husband, Roger, and daughter, Naomi, in Markham, Ontario—can take on a noble majesty during winter. So why sigh for spring when there’s so much to enjoy all around you right now?

Anne wanted to create year-round interest with little maintenance in her Zone 5 garden. An English pyramidal oak, the strategic use of grasses and conifers (including 42 privacy cedars), low stone walls, well-placed rocks and ornaments, and wrought-iron containers filled with seasonal arrangements ensure there’s always plenty to see.


A tea-light lantern suspended from a cedar bough.


A pretty winter tableau, as seen through a tangle of branches and berries. The bird bath catches the snow and acts as a focal point in Anne’s garden. Good texture and well-placed ornaments are key to creating a successful cold weather scene. 


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