Check out those garden bones!

So…what do you mean by garden ‘bones’?

Obelisks/stockade fence to screen propane tank.

In garden design, the term garden ‘bones’ refers to something architectural that defines the structure of a garden. They are the permanent and obviously structural things in the yard, some of them living – trees, hedges, ornamental shrubs, and some structural – walks and paths, stone pavers, ponds, fountains, statuary, arbors, trellises, gazebos, and benches. But, all of them ‘things’ that will look good in summer and winter. It gives the garden some height, depth and structure and adds visual interest even under a blanket of snow. Garden ‘bones’ means creating a garden foundation with trees, structures, paths…for the rest of the garden to build upon.

Living fence.

Privacy screen.

The importance of bones cannot be overstressed. Gardens would look dead without them, buried as they are for most of us, under a blanket of snow right now. To avoid “winter blahs!” consider shrubs and trees that look as good in the winter as they do during the growing season. These are the real gems of the garden. 

Wisteria covered pergola.

Some plants produce bright berries that persist into the winter; some have dried flowers and seed pods; some have unusual bark or stem color; some evergreens turn a different hue; and other plants have an attractive sculptural form without their leaves. Many hold the snow or ice in fantasy formation! Many provide shelter and feed wildlife.

Recycled fence rails.

In addition to plants, skeletal bones such as arbors, gazebos and trellises, walls and pathways also provide some kind of winter interest, even if it is in black and white right now.  That’s why winter is a great time to plan a new garden. It’s also the perfect time to browse gardening catalogs and periodicals, look around at the neighborhood’s landscaping or visit a local public winter garden – Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Estate, Meadowbrook, Cranbrook, Dow Estate.

Harvested field stones.

Remember, gardens are alive. My ‘garden’ was originally a hayfield and has been growing for 20 years and continues to evolve…

And your garden will too!

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2 thoughts on “Check out those garden bones!

  1. I absolutely love this post. You have done such a beautiful job of making the farm landscaping for winter simply work. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve also looked all over your Blog and I can’t wait to come back often to see what’s new. If it’s OK, I will add you to my list of “Inspiration” on my Blog because I would like for those who come to see me to carry on to seeing you.

    Thank you again for sharing! – MaLinda

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