Slow down and enjoy ‘quiet time’ in the Snohomish County garden

First of all, happy new year. Congratulations on surviving everything 2022 throws at us. Despite the damp spring, the long dry summer, and his dreadful December cold, I consider this a successful year. I’ve made a lot of progress with my new garden, planted a lot of new plants, and edited out a lot of plants that were chirping, planted in the wrong place, or simply misbehaving. , being a dynamic configuration that constantly changes as it goes through its lifecycle, it is, of course, never complete.

As much as I love the excitement of spring, the vibrancy of summer, and the rich warmth of autumn, it is the winter season that makes me introspective and contemplative. Even the foliage faded and fell to the ground long ago. dotted with dark brown panicles of maidengrass, bright tan stands of maidengrass, sedum ‘Autumnjoy’, glorious seed heads of helenium and rudbeckia, and ‘Sundance’ Mexican orange, ‘Color Guard’ yucca, golden Mop Cypress Course Golden Highlights. You can never have too many yellow leaves in your garden.

Small streams of black mondograss scattered throughout the garden contrast nicely with the low-growing felt leaves of lamb’s ear. I planted a variety called “Primrose Heron”. The cultivar receives new growth in the spring with a shade of primrose yellow, eventually turning silvery. Even Russian sage has long since finished flowering and has very few leaves left, but its erect, silvery stems are very noticeable.

I saw several clusters of Siberian iris ‘Caesar’s Brother’ this fall go from bolt-upright deep green blades through the summer to slightly nodding bright yellow and finally fully recumbent tawny blades. It was very fascinating to watch the gradual metamorphosis while changing shape. winter. If I had relentlessly truncated everything at first sight of the changes, I would have missed this little drama entirely. This is exactly why we always postpone garden cleaning until late January or until the first signs of bulbs appear.

Not only is the garden still “full of structure” and more interesting to look at, but it is also a veritable wonderland for our feathery friends. It’s so much fun to watch them scurry under and over the still dormant perennials, deciduous shrubs and evergreens as they do. If only I could dash and dart with them in what must feel like a giant vegetated forest to these little guys. Watching, these aerial acrobats provide countless hours of entertainment during otherwise dark and boring winter days.

The Winter Garden is quiet and peaceful, and I think it’s the perfect place to escape the chaos of everyday life. Muted colors are muted and have few flowers, allowing you to focus on the more intricate details of a particular plant. Winter gardens are primarily about texture and structure. Ninebark’s flaking bark, or Stewartia’s patchy bark, are both often overlooked delights during the growing season. My ‘Terese Bugnet’ Rugosa Rose blooms with spicy double her pink flowers in spring and the current season’s bright red thornless growth in the otherwise neglected northeast corner of the garden Turn it into a winter focal point. Meanwhile, on the other side of the garden are two upright English yews. All year round it gets lost in a cacophony of perennials, but now it stands out like a sentinel guarding the entrance to the upper garden from marauders.

Of course, in our mild maritime climate, there are plenty of winter-blooming plants such as hellebore, winter daphne, and Oregon grape that will satisfy your flower cravings until spring comes, but for me, I prefer to take my time. Winter Garden is so funny and engaging that you can truly appreciate the actors of Teha. Now that the holiday season is over and you have some time to get back to the chores of gardening in earnest, it’s time to take a moment to explore some of the more nuanced features of your garden. Be amazed by all the variations and their complexity. Inhale the quiet solitude of your garden and renew your spirit. Spring is coming!

Steve Smith represents Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at

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