Friday, October 18, 2013

The Four Season Garden

The winter season in the garden can be flat, uneventful, and even boring if the garden is not planned to have features that are apparent.  Here is where I like to infuse some ‘bones’ into the landscape - features that will prevail, and be visible all year long.  The four season garden takes some planning and fall is a great time to add some elements to the garden that will be featured in the winter garden and well as all year long.

The Four Seasons Garden, created by self-taught gardeners Tony and Marie Newton, started out as a hobby, but slowly grew into one of the most popular suburban  gardens in Britain. 20 years ago, the couple from West Midlands decided to transform their traditional garden into a stunning display of creative gardening. Tony hated weeding, but loved building things, while his wife Marie just loved plants, so together they set out to create Four Seasons, their version of the ideal backyard garden.

The small backyard of a family-owned property in Wallsall, England, was captured in pictures by  in 2012.
I think we can learn volumes from this garden with it’s vibrant colors and textures all year long.

suburban paradise 01

suburban paradise 02
suburban paradise 03
suburban paradise 04

Wow!   This garden is stunning, and the plant materials have a strong impact in every season.
What carries this impact along?  Foliage. Texture. Height. Layers of Color.  Color from the Evergreens, the shape of the Evergreens, and the textures of the Evergreens is what I want to focus on here.


This Blue Star Juniper is one example of color, shape and texture.  The ice blue color is present all year long, and the mounded shape will still be visible beneath a winter blanket of snow. 

golden hinoki cypress

The Golden Hinoki Cypress is a crisp gold with undulating foliage that has movement to the texture. Chamaecyperis obtusa Fernspray Gold is a slow growing tree, and will reach 3’ after five years – and up to 10’ at maturity. This Hinoki does well in containers as well.  Lifting it up in the garden will add another layer of dimension.

IlexskyP45.jpg.240x160 skypencil holly

Ilex crenataSky Pencil Holly, literally can stand on it’s own.  The columnar shape will add height to any garden and the dark green foliage will contrast with other plants.  Sky Pencil is hardy to Zone 5 – 9 , and maintains in narrow compact feature with a mature height of 8 feet tall.  Winter interest continues with it’s bright red berries that attract birds.
Sky Pencil can also be featured in containers. 4493-sky-pencil-japanese-holly-full-shot--container

yellow ribbon cedar

Yellow ribbon cedar, Thuja occidentalis, is an arborvitae the has great gold growth in the early season and turns more green as the summer progresses.  It is hardy to Zone 3 and growth to about 10 feet tall.

juniperus chinensis 'Kauzuka Variegated'

This is Juniperus chinensis “Kauzuka Variegated”. The creamy white shoots are slightly twisted and quite showy.  Grown in full sun, this Juniper will grow to about 25 feet.

globe blue spruce 2

This little gem is a Globe Blue Spruce, Picea pungens 'Globosa'.  The mature height is only 3' - 5' so it fits well into any small garden.  Monrovia calls this a Sapphire Blue and I can see it is true to it's name.

These evergreen – or ever colorful – shrubs and trees can make a visual impact on the garden all four seasons.  Blending  perennials with evergreens continues to develop texture, shape, and color throughout the year. But the best part of adding evergreens to the garden, in my opinion, is creating ‘bones’ for the garden to lean on long after deciduous trees, shrubs, and perennials have faded into winter.

Trees and shrubs can be planted well into winter, as long as the ground can be dug.  So, I'm on my way to shop to make my space  more of a four season garden. 

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