On my bookshelves are seven titles devoted to the winter garden. It's a subject we gave a lot of thought to when designing our garden. We have large windows that look out to the garden and we didn't want to only see snow for months on end.
This is one subject where many garden writers and bloggers don't have growing conditions close enough to ours to be able to offer useful advice or inspiration. When I am trying to figure out what else we might do to punch up our winter garden, I often turn to New England gardeners.
The photos below are from Juniper Hill, the living laboratory of writer, gardener and photographer Joseph Valentine. His New Hampshire garden is stunning and so is his website. It's well worth a look, especially for those who garden in cold climates. He also posts to Instagram and Pinterest.
This image makes me think I should put a tall grass in the empty spot in my evergreen hedge along the back fence. I had been planning on just adding another yew but this suggests I should think about other, more dramatic, options.
I've got a standard lilac like the pair pictured here but these two, at Juniper Hill, are perfect specimens. To my eye they will never look better than they do here in winter.
Gordon Hayward and his wife Mary garden in Vermont. Gordon used to frequently come to Madison to do lectures and workshops about garden design. He stayed with us a couple of times, including one February when he and Mary got snowed in at our house.
The Hayward's garden (above) is an instructive example of how to design for winter interest. You can see it and read about it here on Juniper Hill's old website. I have a row of Gordon's garden books on my shelves and every one beautifully covers various aspects of garden design. Great speaker, great writer, great gardener. Gordon's own website is here.