Winter Interest

This past fall, a contractor brought a front yard (read: our garden) drainage issue to our attention. In order to keep our bungalow from ruin, it seems we need to have the whole area dug up and reshaped. A local landscaper came by to confirm and said that the existing plants would all have to be temporarily relocated. The good news was that we’ll have more area for plants.

“It’s not a bad situation,” the landscaper told me. “You need some winter interest, anyway.”

“Winter interest?” said I, intrigued.

“Evergreen plants,” he said. “Bushes. Maybe some boxwood. Things that look good all year ’round.”

I’ve never been a big fan of bushes. It’s probably my suburban upbringing. In summer and fall, you could tell it was Saturday when you heard hedge trimmers buzzing all over the neighborhood. Bad neighbors would trim once a season, then let the bushes grow all higgly-piggledly so that they had a few random spikes poking up a month or two later. These were people to be avoided. Consequently, I’ve never wanted to deal with bushes. I just cannot take the pressure.

While I’m all for providing winter berries for birds, I’m not all that excited about having green plants outside all year ’round. I love the way the seasons’ changes are reflected in the flora that live around us. I love that, in the winter, things turn brown–almost, but not quite lifeless.

Most of all, I love walking in the garden in late February and March to see the green peeking from the soil, as though it’s testing the air, trying to decide when to fully commit to spring.

For now, I’m happy to have an all-brown garden. A garden-in-waiting.

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