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Subtle Beauty: Winter in Northwest Gardens

Articles: Subtle Beauty: Winter in Northwest Gardens

Winter colour is nature’s most sophisticated palette--a range dominated by subtle tones, sombre contrasts and striking highlights. For the winter gardener, the challenge is to enhance and build upon this mellow array.
Rosemary Verey, The Garden in Winter

In the best years, Northwest gardens reach their peak in September when a patchwork of saturated red, bronze, and gold is flung across the autumn landscape. At close range, sunflowers, asters, and colchicums insist on entertaining us, even as fall chores demand attention. We revel in the warmth of the year’s fleeting sunshine, knowing that short days, with time for pondering, lie just ahead.

Fall gardening is strenuous—a perfect time to plant the homeless shrub, divide Pacific coast iris, and add a bucket of bulbs to the newest bed. When November’s rains become relentless, and the chill has settled in bone and stem alike, it is tempting to run for cover and spend the winter admiring the shapes of trees and the colorful feathers visiting the kitchen window’s bird feeder. For some, short winter days can make a stroll in the garden a rare event, but for other Northwest gardeners, the subtle beauty of winter is just as alluring ...


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