In the Garden:
Mid-Atlantic
December, 2000
Regional Report

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No snow? No problem! There's more than one way to build a snowman.

Enjoying Snow

There is always a rush to finish the fall cleanup in the garden before winter sets in. Somehow I am never quite ready for fall to end. Admittedly, I am a procrastinator, but some things are beyond the gardener's control.

Winter Garden Woes

A blustery storm can bring down tree limbs and branches that require removal, possibly even cutting and stacking for later use as firewood. A wayward wind can import late-falling leaves from a distant source, requiring a repeat on the raking job we just completed. A freak freeze can tie up the mulch pile, rendering it unusable, a frozen hummock in the back yard.

Snow as Art

Luckily, snow can cover a multitude of such "problems," or at least make us pause to consider them in a new light. A dusting of light snow highlights the outlines and edges, softens sharp lines. Little details blend in clean expanses of white. A sheer coat of glistening crystals makes everything shimmer so the tattered remains of last season's plants take on a glamorous air.

Snow as Mulch

As the season progresses, a thicker blanket of snow insulates the flower beds, protecting them from the cold and keeping the bulbs and perennials snug for the duration. A deep snow swaddles the garden, muffles sounds, and by night, reflects the moon in a magical light.

Winter's Solace

So put those overlooked summer lawn chairs, now frozen in place, to good use. Take a minute, maybe a little longer, to enjoy the garden on a frosty cold, but bright winter night. Venture forth to explore the quiet mysteries of the winter garden. Enjoy the lines of tree trunks and branches silhouetted against the snow, peek through a thicket of shrubs as a spider would see through her web. Sit still for a moment and listen to the soft rustle of the remaining oak leaves in the trees, and with a little luck you will experience a wonderful and memorable garden moment.


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