Monday, December 29, 2008

The Garden in Winter

Clippings from the garden
Holly and everygreens brighten the pass-through between our kitchen and dining room.

I am borrowing my headline for this post from the title of the wonderful book The Garden in Winter by British plantswoman Rosemary Verey. I received this book as a gift from my aunt more than a decade ago, and it inspired me and my husband to pay attention to the cycle of seasons when choosing the shrubbery for the three acres we attempt to garden (or keep moderately under control) in northwestern Virginia. We now have several crops of fall and winter berries, including nandinia and miniature crab apple, along with a space we leave to run wild to encourage the annual spread of bittersweet vines. As winter approaches, we are gifted with four varieties of holly and eight or ten varieties of evergreen. One of the great pleasures of the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is my annual ritual of harvesting greens and holly for miniature indoor arrangements. In the past several years, a new winter color, bright chartreuse green, has arrived on the scene in our neighborhood nurseries, in the form of Golden Cypress shrubs. One Golden Cypress, Chamaecyparis pisifera, supplies bright golden thread-like foliage that transforms arrangements. I hope to get one of these planted in 2009.

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