No one ever talks about taking a stroll around the garden in winter, but maybe you should. Wrap yourself in a warm scarf, pour a mug of tea, and get outside.
Just when you’ve resigned yourself to a long grey winter and the frost has blackened your border into a mushy pile, this quiet fall garden suddenly throws off its dull raincoat and runs streaking down road shouting ‘Hey, everybody, look at me!” It’s shocking and exciting, and you wonder whether you’re daring enough to take the Polar Bear Plunge too. The Pieris begins to glow in the low winter light, and the frost starts to turn the Erica foliage vivid colors.
I never see anyone tending this clever front-yard garden, so these mounds of summer-blooming Calluna, winter-blooming Erica and tawny Carex must be singularly well-behaved. They form a seamless carpet of color and never allow a weed through. Local volcanic rocks have been placed to capture and reflect water.
During the summer, the mounds of Erica remain tidy and support drifts of lavender, poppy and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’. Despite the ordinariness of the plant selection, combined here they become sophisticated and eye-catching. Repetition of color draws the eye through.
You can recreate this garden yourself, with a small, carefully-chosen selection of rocks and ordinary plants, that when planted densely, form a low-maintenance tapestry of color through out the year.