Design Ideas: Winter Silhouette Gardening

Bringing the Inside Out

Urbane Bronze – it was the color of 2021 from a prominent paint company in New England and highly favored amongst interior decorators. We always aim for a seamless integration from inside to outside and what better way than to continue this color into the landscape. It is a dark almost black/bronze/and reminded me of the brown bronze color of deciduous trees and shrubs and perennials that adorn the winter landscape.

Many of our clients have started to see the value – both ecologically and aesthetically – to not cut back perennials and grasses in winter but to leave the seed heads and flower remains on the plant until spring. Flower and seed heads take on many shapes and structures once all the colorful petals and leaves are gone and the appeal lies in the many varied shapes and textures that forms silhouettes against snowy backgrounds.

Let It Be

We recently visited one of our clients gardens who left all his hydrangeas, coneflowers, bee balm and rudbekias uncut. Instead of a stark empty garden, his landscape was dressed in its wintercoat and the garden path lead us through fields of dried hydrangea heads, bubbles of beebalm and spikey arrays of coneflower seeds.

What often may seem “dead” to us means “ripe and ready” to many seed-eating birds. This clients garden was frequented by many songbirds such us gold finches and tree sparrows throughout the Fall who needed the last bit of nutrients offered to make the long migration.

Some of our favorite plant silhouettes are:

  • Sunflowers
  • Bee balm
  • Bergamot
  • New England asters
  • Coneflower
  • Hydrangeas – big and small – we love them all!

Winter Grasses

Tall uncut ornamental grasses add softness and height and leaving the beautiful flax-colored grass seed tufts tall uncut provide texture and interest all through the winter. It also helps to protect the grow point at the base of the stems from extreme cold and give shelter to small birds, mammals and protect insect eggs that provide larvae to nesting birds in spring. The seed tufts also collect snow and creates beautiful mobiles gently swaying in the breeze.

Our favorite winter landscape grass species are:

  • Karl Foester grass
  • Miscanthus grasses
  • feathery reed grass
  • Festucas and Carexes

The Perfect Time

At a Blade of Grass we take care to design and install year-round interest to your garden all whilst silently conserving habitat and contribute to a healthier ecosystem through sustainable garden practices. And while it may seem a long way off, Spring is the perfect time to plan your silhouette winter garden!