What looks good in winter

I have been really remiss these past few days but when I’ve got a deadline nothing else matters. Heads down banging away on the computer nonstop. ?When I looked up it was a winter wonderland all right. ?Gorgeous out in the garden.

I was impressed immediately with what plants go into winter looking pretty and stay to look absolutely incredible. ?Once again grasses are coming into their own. ?Birds were hopping all over the joint this morning picking up seeds from the uncut perennials and, of course, the grasses which are scattering them about on the snow.?

These grasses are now in their prime: ?lots of fluffy lacy heads or blooms, the shapes keep moving in the wind and they are a stark contrast to the evergreens. ?People often get impatient about grasses. But they take about four years to really look like anything and then you’re into dividing regularly.?

I’m crazy about evergreen shrubs and trees. We need them in our climate mainly because we need green just to give us some hope that winter won’t be the usual 10 months of misery. ?I’ve got a variegated boxwood which I bought years ago and have never pruned. It’s enormous: ?about five feet high and wide with a sensuous roundness that is really pleasing. It makes a good background for a low growing Japanese maple. ?They are both lit gently at night. ?If I had a tiny garden I could make do with these two alone.

The other plants that are holding up and looking good are the Arum pictum: ?the dark green arrow shaped leaves are shot with silver. It might be my imagination but I think they are beginning to spread. This is a family I’m going to buy more of next year. I’m also keen on the gingers, ?Asarum spp. I have the native (A. canadensis) along a fence line where its wildness works very well. ?And A. europeum, a shiny, evergreen tailored beauty that is apparent right now in rather more spots than I really need it. ?Gotta watch that one. The other stunning plant is Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’. It’s like a flame among all the brown of the trees and shrubs surrounding it. ?But this dogwood gets huge and it will spread. No one mentioned that when I bought it. ?I can’t have rampant spreaders in this garden. But looking out in the sun light at this plant wouldn’t want it any other way.