In the Garden: Winter

For some reason, February seems like a particularly long month this year. Perhaps it’s because of the erratic weather this winter–warm one day, bitterly cold the next, snow and rain the third–or perhaps it’s just because I haven’t been getting out of the house as much as I usually do. While working from home is amazing and such a privilege, time seems to slip by very quickly and it’s often dark by the time I realize I should have taken a break and gone for a walk! Somehow it’s easier to remember to get outside when it’s warm, and having a space where I can set up an office for the day on the patio makes that even easier!

That being said, I love being outdoors and being in beautiful spaces in all weathers, especially gardens. We lived only a few blocks away from the Conservatory Gardens in Manhattan, and now that we’re back on Long Island we’re very close to two wonderful arboretums–Planting Fields and Bailey Arboretum. Both of the arboretums incorporate lots of evergreens into their landscape, making sure that there’s something lovely to see even in the winter. At this point in the winter, I really need that escape.

When I was in high school, one of our alumnae, Lynden Miller, took my class for a tour of the Conservatory Garden on the Upper East Side and spoke to us about her revival of the garden. She emphasized her desire to ensure that something was always alive and vibrant in the garden, even in the winter. Mrs. Miller’s designs incorporated evergreens, often placed behind more seasonal plants to give the seasonal plantings their time to shine. This foundational planting ensures that all aspects of a garden can be enjoyed year-round, and that even gardens in winter hold many joys.

As I daydream about our future garden, I am taking notes on winter plantings that will keep our garden alive and vibrant during even the bleakest winter months. From traditional evergreens to other plantings like ornamental kale and winter jasmine, there are so many different options! I can’t wait until I can start planning.

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