Home > JARDINS > Escape To ‘NARNIA’ In A Winter’s Garden…

Escape To ‘NARNIA’ In A Winter’s Garden…

A circle of evergreens beckons visitors to the garden. Above, a fir swag forms to the gentle curve of the gate. A 'snow cone' (a woven basket holding a generous scoop of winter's 'ice cream') hangs on a gatepost from an old forged iron hook...Welcome! The garden is waiting to meet you...

 

“THE SNOW DOESN’T GIVE A SOFT WHITE DAMN WHOM IT TOUCHES.” ~ E. E. Cummings


Welcome Dear Friends,

Snuggle deep into your gloves and scarf and come with me into the garden to explore how lovely it can be, even in winter!   When you return from making a new path in the freshly fallen snow, a steaming restorative brew will be waiting to warm your hands and your mind.  It’s the perfect time for snow angels…

THE GARDEN IN WINTER In our tiny corner of the world, February month can be bone chilling.  The mercury dips to an average of  -5° Celsius.  The bracing winds have a compounding effect, lowering temperatures even further. Snowfalls average about 75 cm. This February has been an exceptionally snow-filled month – 135 cm!!!

The garden at this time of year is far from lifeless.  It is just as beautiful in this season of winter as it is in the glory of summer. When the flower heads have gone and the trees have shed their leafy coats, all that is the ‘transparency’ of the garden is unveiled – splendid forms and textural interest that can only be truly appreciated in winter.

Gathered cuttings of pine, cedar, fir and branches of red dogwood (pruned when trees are dormant in December for holiday decorating), pinecones, and fresh fruits replace geraniums, lobelia and ivies in flower boxes throughout the winter. An old pair of hockey skates hangs on a deck post for a touch of frosty nostalgia.

 

The color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination. ~Terri Guillemets

Vivid red berries, brown seed heads, wheat-coloured fountain grasses and the sepia-tinted remnants of once-volumnious shrubbery; thick dark evergreens, emerald cedar pyramids, the curious outline of bare deciduous branches against an icy sky – even the  grey flagstone pathway that winds through the now-dormant flower beds, rustic trellises, weathered fencing and a well-worn gate – all combine to create winter interest in the garden.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.  ˜Ecclessiastes III

Just as flowers attract butterflies in summer, trees and shrubs that bear tiny fruits in winter attract birds to the garden.  When planning a summer garden in January and February months, I keep in mind plantings that will bear food for sweet winged creatures into the fall and winter seasons.

Plants and trees that retain their leafage and needles throughout the colder months hold much appeal and ground the winter garden.   What I like to call “Hollywoods” (a.k.a. glossy-leaved hollies and boxwoods), mugo pines, yews, cedars and fir are among such stately specimens in my little plot of paradise. Creeping euonymous and English ivy also keep their foliage, offering up a rich visual contrast next to trees that have lost their leaves to reveal their astounding curled and twisted forms – a complexity in nature that cannot easily be seen at the height of the summer.

 

A 'Victorian Father Christmas', just one of the many Santa creations crafted by my good friend Jean's heart and hand, poses with his enthralled young companions on my kitchen window sill.

‘THE SNOW CATCHERS’ Clematis, honeysuckle, wisteria and hydrangea creepers with their dried sepia mop heads, leftovers from their fall performance, cling to the fence softening its hard lines, just as they do in summertime. Softly-falling snowflakes settle in amongst their far-reaching tendrils and accumulate atop spent blossoms like fluffy white bunches of snow carnations.

Lacey snow-filled silhouettes of  lilac trees, and the umbrella outline of a weeping willow under a heavy snow shower always seem to capture my imagination…

Even a utilitarian garden shed (photo below) provides a charming backdrop for an enchanting snow scene that appears as if straight out of a snowglobe! Dreaming…

There is much to see in the winter landscape, if your mind and eyes are open to it!


“My garden is my own little marshmallow world in the winter, when the snow comes to cover the ground…”

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MARSHMALLOW WORLD / Lyrics by Carl Sigman

It’s a marshmallow world in the winter
When the snow comes to cover the ground
It’s the time for play, it’s a whipped-cream day
I wait for it the whole year round!

Those are marshmallow clouds being friendly
In the arms of the evergreen trees
And the sun is red, like a pumpkin head
It’s shining so your nose won’t freeze!

Boughs of evergreen and large pinecones replace 'flower sacks' on the face of the garden shed. They impart a cheery note of welcome.

The world is your snowball, see how it grows
Thats how it goes, whenever it snows
The world is your snowball just for a song
Get out and roll it along!

It’s a yum-yummy world made for sweethearts
Take a walk with your favorite girl
It’s a sugar date, what if spring is late
In winter it’s a marshmallow world!

 


 

 

 

Tree branches enrobed in thick white 'snow chenille'...Oh, what a magnificent sight! These magical moments are so very fleeting. I like to enjoy them while I can and have my camera handy to capture them...


An ‘Alpine Santa’ sits on my kitchen windowsill admiring the ‘Winter Wonderland’ beyond, anticipating winter’s gift and all that it holds…This jolly ceramic gent was also created and gifted to me by my good friend Jean.  Don’t you just love his handsome ‘hand-stitched’ cozy Nordic sweater?!

 

THE QUIET ALLURE OF ‘A SNOW GARDEN’ In the height of summer, conventionally thought of as ‘the garden’s time’, eyes are expectantly fastened on abundant roses, lilies, peonies, hydrangea, foxgloves, hollyhocks, lady’s mantle, phlox and spireas – all abloom in a riot of colour and scent that intoxicates the senses. Conversely, in ‘the cold season’, eyes are drawn to the bones of the garden in its purest form.  The visual focus is on the elements of the hardscape (patios, decks, fencing, even fountains) that in any other season seemingly blend into the background; as well as on the placement of its beautifully designed and crafted garden structures.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.  ˜Ecclessiastes III

 

A large cedar wreath provides a bright contrast against the black paint of the shed door.

WHEN IRON MEETS SNOW In winter, I especially appreciate  the collection of wrought-iron structures that make their home in my garden:   an arched arbor, a tiered birdbath, urns of various sizes and forms, obelisks in graduating heights, latticed plant cages, a shepherd’s hook, a couple of strategically placed benches and an inviting, tiny round scrolled-pattern table paired with curvy chairs.

A quiescent flower bed is encircled by an intricately patterned iron fence; almost unseen in summer, its inky pattern comes to life against a crisp snowy white backdrop.  Even an empty concrete pedestal that holds a fountain bowl in summer, its swirled pattern hidden behind climbing roses; provides a focal piece of architectural interest in winter.  And on a winter’s eve, an electrified lampost and carriage lanterns give an ambient light to the garden whenever the moon drifts behind the clouds.

Each structural piece has unto itself a distinct beauty without the assistance of flowering blooms. Even lesser elements like tiny birdhouses, a weathered mirror, dented watering can, and small faerie statuary that appear in unexpected places, all seem to have a curious relationship to one another. The overall effect of a snowy blanket is both unifying and one of tranquility. There is no denying that at this time of year, there is a certain clarity to the garden.

 


A home-made wooden bench and an iron urn come to life under the soft glow of strings of tiny white globe lights threaded through the bare branches of a towering ‘Mountain Ash’.

WINTER’S PALETTE In winter, ‘Mother Nature’ paints the walls of  her garden room in a most serene palette of snowy whites, creams, taupes, and greys with a few touches of evergreen and inky black to ground it all.  She throws her best white matelassé spread over top.  Her crystal ice candles that hang along the shed’s eave are illuminated at night with the moon’s glow, and a lush carpet  of  thick ‘snow pile’ awaits the arrival of earthly snow angels….

“Winter is the time for comfort – it is the time for home.” –  Edith Sitwell

 

AFTER IT SNOWS… A soft clean snowfall upon the garden is a gift! Reminiscent of soft cotton batting, layers of snow come to rest between the crevices of the garden structures, between the tree branches, atop the fences and along vines. It floats into the garden’s open spaces, drifting in peaks and valleys like giant mounds of whipped cream…

After it snows, the simplicity, yet sophistication, of the winter’s colour palette and complexity of textures sets the scene surreal. This is the time that I enjoy a quiet spell alone in the garden, breathing it in and capturing its beauty with the camera lens, before anyone has had a chance to track footprints through.  There’s a kind of inexplicable magic to the garden at this time, a feeling of ‘Narnia’ before humans arrive…

You have at long last, arrived in the land of Narnia...Hint: Click to enlarge images


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Snow drifts, the world is quiet;

evergreens dressed in snow robes,

Looking through window panes

as if snowglobes

On a winter’s night…”

 

view of the garden after a fresh sifting of snow, before any footprints have tracked along its curvy path…a peaceful, dreamy winterscape!

A garden bench is plumply "made up" with a soft, new snow pillow...

When the flowers are gone and the trees have disrobed, the amazing forms underneath are revealed. The eye is drawn to the complexity of bare tree shapes and the garden's architectural elements: wrought-iron fencing encircling a hidden flower bed, a cement fountain pedestal, a stately arbor, urns of all manner, an iron bench, rustic obelisks and vine trellises, shepherds' hooks and iron scrolled chairs...the captivating 'umbrella' silhouette of the willow before its branches are ladened with heavy 'snowdrops'...



Oh, "Vanilla Days!" Clear old-fashioned tree bulbs brighten an especially grey day! Yet another one of Jean's Santa creations happily frames the view from the kitchen...I love looking at the old hockey skates. An antique sled and a plaid flannel blanket that rests on an iron bench are just around the corner and out of sight - 'frosty accessories' that bring a touch of warm nostalgia to an otherwise chilly day...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?! Once upon a time...Norwegian women used Nordic sweaters to attract a spouse. They would skillfully hand knit their 'love' a handsome sweater as a sign of affection. A marriage proposal would often result!

Curvy scrolled-back, wrought-iron garden chairs are fitted just-to- size with snowy seat cushions. A double tiered birdbath is coated in icing-smooth layers of 'snow frosting'. Boughs of pine, cedar and fir, gathered from the garden and popped into the soil early in the season (before freezing sets in), spill out of the wooden flower box and onto the wall of the garden shed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wrought-iron arbor looks just as beautiful on a snowy day with a simple garland of pine entwined around its arches as it does with vining hydrangea and clematis in full bloom.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter whites, moonlit nights - A view of the garden on a glorious winter's eve after a dusting of newly fallen snow. It is a magical scene! Faeries live at the bottom of the garden, even in wintertime. You can see their evidence - sparkles of snow-encrusted pixie dust all through the trees! One can escape to 'Narnia' in 'A Winter's Garden'...

 

An iron basket stuffed with evergreen boughs hangs from a deck post. Flower boxes and urns, too, are generously filled with more of the same. Old-fashioned clear Christmas tree bulbs shine on the snow-encrusted features of the 'deck garden'.

 

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home. ~Edith Sitwell

THE GARDEN SLEEPS Beneath its snowy blanket, the garden sleeps in winter.  The hint of a garden lies beneath the ‘snow bedding’ spread vastly o’er the ground…Soon the bleeding hearts, the sweet faces of roses and flowering tree branches will awaken from their winter slumber . “Come back soon”, the garden seems to say.  “Come back to enjoy another day!”

Warmly yours,

Linda

A 'Forest Santa' carrying an inquisitive little squirrel stands in front of a screened window. Yes, this jolly gent, too, was handcrafted by my good friend Jean! WHO KNEW?! Squirrels ate every one of my 100+ tulip bulbs that I planted some years ago throughout my garden beds and in urns and planter boxes. Last fall, my hubby and I planted over 300 bulbs along our front walkway. This time, before throwing the soil back over them, we took extra care to first cover the bulbs with chicken wire to prevent tiny paws from digging them up too easily...Apparently, they don't like daffodils too much, but tulips - well, let just say they make for a squirrel's buffet feast!

From my kitchen door, the view out to the garden is akin to looking through a snow globe...The effect comes close to magical! I wish you a beautiful and inspiring snow-filled day...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY SEEN C.S. LEWIS’ “The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”, the snow scenes are stunningly beautiful and well worth the watching!

 

 

 

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN TO ENJOY THE ‘YOUTUBE’ TRAILER FOR C.S. LEWIS’ “THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA – THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER”.  COMING TO THEATRES IN CHRISTMAS 2011.  WILL YOU BE ABLE TO WAIT?!

(Hint:  You may have to click on the link on a second time to be directed to the YouTube site.)

RETURN TO HOPE.  RETURN TO MAGIC.  RETURN TO NARNIA…

 


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Categories: JARDINS
  1. Joanne
    2011/03/04 at 2:25 pm

    WOW, Linda! Your photographs are breathtaking and your writing simply superb! Thanks for sharing. You are a blessing!

    • 2011/03/04 at 6:45 pm

      Joanne,

      I’m thrilled to bits that you are enjoying the read! Your name has been entered for the ‘Thank You’ draw this month for your comment! LOL

      Linda

  2. Lois
    2011/03/04 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you for inviting me to share with friends. I also posted to my facebook page. February was brutal but spring is on the way. Cheers.

    • 2011/03/04 at 6:47 pm

      Hi Lois!

      Thank you for that! I really appreciate it. Your name, too, has been entered in the draw for something beautiful! LOL Ya never know…Hope your weekend is lovely.

      Linda

  3. Tammy
    2011/03/04 at 8:11 pm

    The backyard is looking wonderful with the snowfall. As always, you have a beautiful way with words, Auntie. Can’t wait to see you this summer. Hugs!

    • 2011/03/04 at 8:26 pm

      Hi Tammy!

      Well, it’s so great to hear from you. I’m glad you liked this post. I had no idea you were following! Ahh, yes, we are looking forward to seeing you, too, and celebrating a summer wedding…Did you know those were Craig’s old skates in the photos?! If you leave it, I will make use of it! LOL

      Hugs,
      Linda

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