Today we’re visiting the home garden of award-winning garden designer Jay Safford. We’ve gone into other seasons before, but today they’re showing what it’s like in winter.
I designed my garden called Rhodwood, located in a mountain valley in North Carolina, during the COVID pandemic. Frankly, it was invaluable in helping me through this period. The front garden is a stylized meadow built over a septic drain field. Designing it for four-season appeal was a high priority for me, as winters here can be long and harsh. Here are some photos taken during the months we usually think of as dull and lifeless when it comes to our gardens.
The seed heads are left standing until March, when the entire meadow is cut. I love the winter interest, especially the texture and dynamism, provided by the 200 or so. Panicum And Pennisetum and seed heads like these ‘October Sky’ asters (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium ‘October Skies’, Zones 3-8).
Along the roadside, winter interest catches the eye of passers-by. ‘Craemer Red’ Erica, Cedars Atlantica ‘Blue Cascade’ (zones 6-9), and Juniperus conferta ‘Golden Pacific’ (zones 6-9) shines on a dreary winter day. From a design perspective, first impressions are everything.
One of my favorite parts of the garden, especially in winter, is the hillside full of conifers, heaths and heathers. This view, taken from my living room window, shows its profound effect. Callamagrostus × acutiflora ‘Carl Foster’ (zones 5-9) seed heads that I planted as part of my foundation planting.
Their dried flower heads Hydrangea Panculata ‘Phantom’ (zones 3-8) adds a lot to the winter landscape. I leave them in place until April 1st, when I cut the plants back to within 12 inches of the ground, just like you cut roses. By doing this it stays at a height of 5 feet in summer instead of 8 to 9 feet. A large size will dominate the garden.
This color of ‘Orange Rocket’ barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Orange Rocket’, zones 4-8), ‘Curly Tops’ Eastern white pine (Pence strobes ‘Curly Tops’, zones 3–8), and ‘Shenandoah’ Pancum (Panecum virgetum ‘Shenandoah’, zones 4-9) blooms in winter. Please note that barberry is not invasive in my area.
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