Plant of the month January 2017

Winter Wonderland – Ice Beauties Show How Tough They Are

Topiaries in winter - always offer new, exciting impressions

Winter Wonderland is a song commonly song during the Christmas season. The music was composed by Felix Bernard (1897–1944), and the lyrics come from Richard B. Smith (1901–1935). Among the famous artists to sing the song are Perry Como and Frank Sinatra. Walking in a winter wonderland, a winter walk in the snow, also offers a variety of opportunities to enjoy nature, let yourself simply unwind or spontaneously build a snowman as described in the song.

Even gardens change their appearance in winter. The summer abundance, the dazzling display of colours of the flowers has passed, and the colourful autumn leaves fallen from the trees. The focus now turns to something that is generally unnoticed during the other seasons: Formal hedge elements and topiaries make their grand entrance in the cold season. Graceful thin trunks, pathways and evergreen hedges now characterise the garden landscape.  

During the interplay of temperatures, bonsai and other topiaries always show new, surprising faces in winter. Morning sift rime conjures up filigree structures, and unique ice crystals glitter in the wintry sunlight, water droplets frozen to ice break sun rays in the backlight for short moments. In perfect symbiosis with the plants, the frost paints beautiful images with a romantic touch of perpetual transience in nature. Long lasting fruit such as ornamental apples, Ilex berries, remaining dry leaves or petals of hydrangeas create additional textural landscapes. The textural imagery of bark such as Acer griseum, Heptacodium miconioides or Euonymus alatus are very striking and ornamental in winter. Elms varieties such as Ulmus hollandica ‘Jaqueline Hillier’ or Ulmus parviflora ‘Seiju’ inspire mainly through their picturesque and unique growth character in combination with the ‘ice’ style. Evergreen conifers such as Pinus contorta, bonsai topiaries create additional impressions of scents with their spicy fragrance of pine needles.  

Topiaries offer versatile design uses as a solitary element in an exclusive personal spot or to separate areas in a formal garden. Modern sculptures can also be used to add exciting accents and focal points while art works underscore the garden’s unique character and create a lovely ambience.