Sleeping Beauties

Spruce, heather and grasses in Winter Garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Birdsnest spruce, heather and ornamental grasses (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

For those of us that are gardeners or caretakers of the land, the end of the growing season signals a time for reflection.  A time for looking back and remembering what our landscapes looked like only a few months ago.  When the leaves of the trees were lush with green foliage and flowers were abundantly sprinkled about, many adorned with bees and butterflies.  Streams were flowing with the gentle melody of water tumbling over moss covered stones, and frogs basked along the banks awaiting an insect snack.  All was peaceful and warm.

As we enter this time of hibernation, of winter solstice, we can conjure up the images of some of our favorite plants.  We can envision the bright blossoms and fragrances that were carried to our nostrils on the summer breeze.  All of these images can easily be revisited in our memory, and sometimes we can recall them simply by walking through our gardens and viewing the sleeping beauties that lie within.  If we look closely, we may be pleasantly surprised by the many handsome plants in our own gardens waiting patiently for someone to notice them.

Beautiful Winter Rose Hips in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Beautiful winter rose hips (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Whether climber or shrub, we adore our roses for their gorgeous flowers from spring through fall, and treasure most those with sweet fragrance. But if we leave a few passing blossoms at the end of autumn, we are rewarded with showy crimson orbs; a visual treat for our eyes and a healthy snack for our feathered friends.


Winter crabapples in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Winter crabapples (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

One of the first to bloom in my New England garden, crabapples provide a delightful display of color and fragrance with dense masses of delicate blossoms covering every limb.  A magnet to bees, the trees are often drenched with the sound of contented humming as pollinators are busy at work.  The results of these efforts are clearly displayed with tantalizing fruit that dangles from the branches, eventually consumed by the local aviary population.

Geranium macrorrhizum's winter bronzing in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Geranium macrorrhizum’s winter bronzing (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Covered with pastel pink flowers that hover a few inches above the soft green foliage in spring, Geranium macrorrhizum is the queen of groundcovers in shady or partial sun gardens.  Happily co-mingling  with shrubs and other perennials, Geranium macrorrhizum adds a textural element while helping to retain soil moisture and temperature.  At season’s end, the leaves turn shades of bronze and burgundy, but retain a fresh minty scent enjoyable through the coldest months ahead.

Frothy winter buds of Clematis Praecox in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Frothy winter buds of Clematis ‘Praecox’ (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Clematis offer a dramatic to sublime array of blossom colors, some growing to majestic heights while others meander and trail downward.  The latter is the case with Clematis jouiniana ‘Praecox’, with cornflower blue clusters flowing over its foliage during summer, often accompanied by dozens of ambitious bees.  As the seasons change, the blossoms drop away leaving tiny cotton ball formations in their wake.

Heather's winter blaze in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Heather’s winter blaze (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

A perfect little evergreen perennial for sunny, well drained gardens, heather (Calluna vulgaris) offers a dense, mound-like form that works perfectly at the front of the border.  Bearing delicate flowers in pastel shades during late spring or summer, the main attraction is at season’s end when heather’s green foliage turns a dramatic scarlet hue, illuminating the surroundings like a holiday candle.

So my friends, wander about your yard today and take a moment to enjoy the wonder and subtle beauty that lies without, as well as within. ♥


  1. Wow! Some beautiful plants for the winter…..

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