The Bones of the Winter Garden

Viburnum bodnantense

As I sit looking out the window my garden is dormant with the exception of the beautiful pink Viburnum bodnantense blooming like crazy. If you have ever experienced a winter in southern BC you will know its gray and wet so this shrub is the highlight of the garden as its fragrant blooms continue to bloom all winter long.


It’s not that there isn’t anything in my garden. Its full of Rhododendrons, Pieris japonica, Osmanthus, HeatherĀ and tall cedars that enclose the whole garden creating a feeling of paradise even in winter.

Aucuba japonica


So instead of lots of blooms in the garden there is texture and great foliage, the things that make a garden stand out amongst the rest. This garden was a solid green, every just plain green ,when I moved here eight years ago. I have added plants like Aucuba to brighten up dark shady corners. This one is planted against a large cedar hedgerow.

I brought in some grays as seen in Senecio and planted this small shrub under my roses. Its leaves are felt like and I love the softness it gives against the front sidewalk.


This Choisya was planted to add some fragrance in the spring but has grown out of its alloted space. It will be moved to a new home this spring. Not only does this plant have fragrant flowers but its leaves are fragrant as well.

Viburnum davidii

I have several Viburnum davidii planted throughout the garden and they have lovely blue berries in winter. Their only downfall is the horrendous amount of leaves that they drop throughout the year. They are a nice filler in the garden staying evergreen all winter.


I love Holly but they are very invasive here so I decided that planting Osmanthus was a better choice. This nice compact shrub is commonly known as false holly. It lends itself well to pruning and can be used for seasonal decor at this time of year.


If there is anything more precious in a garden, it’s the borrowed landscape. You know the one I mean, the trees and plants that hang over your fences from neighbouring yards, the tall trees that stand in the distance. I love my borrowed landscape. The tall grandfather beech tree above is a grand statement and towers over all the surrounding trees. The branching habit of trees in the winter is nothing but spectacular. I am in awe of this beech as it must be hundreds of years old and still standing.


My most graceful tree is this weeping willow. Its covered in moss along its older branches and leans over a waterway behind our property.


As much as I love the winter garden I long for the days of spring to arrive.

summer garden

What is now a lawn of moss will become grass again, the shrubs lush and full. The flowers emerging from their hiding place far below the soil. But then ,winter is for gardeners to get some needed rest before we start our crazy cycle of nurturing new plants and seeds once again. Sigh,why does winter seem so long?

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