Winter Highlights

Winter Highlights

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden: Graceful Evergreens, Snow Lanterns, and Winter Wildlife

In the Japanese tradition, gardens highlight seasonal change so that there's something beautiful and interesting to experience all year. Winter is especially enchanting after a snowfall.

Look for

  • Artfully pruned evergreen trees. Age and perseverance are highly valued in Japanese culture, and trees are often intentionally shaped to look weathered and old. Proper pruning also allows them to gracefully hold snow.
  • The yukimigata (“snow-viewing”) lantern on Turtle Island. After a snowfall, its wide, flat roof holds a blanket of snow.
  • Resident wildlife. A pair of hawks has been nesting in one of the garden’s pines for several years. They hunt, mate, and tend their nest in winter. Cardinals can be seen foraging for seeds and nuts, and koi sometimes appear at the pond’s surface. (Unlike the garden's resident red-eared slider turtles, koi don’t hibernate.)

This garden was also designed to appeal to different senses. Notice things like the scent of the pines and the sounds of animals, or even just your own footsteps on a quiet day.

Rock Garden: Alpine Habitats, Conifers, and Winter Blooms

The Rock Garden includes a variety of microclimates, including several alpine habitats, set apart by carefully arranged boulders.

Look for

  • A wide variety of conifers native to mountainous regions including the Rock Mountains and Norther Europe.
  • Witch-hazels, both native and Asian species. These ribbon-like flowers bloom in winter, usually during a warm spell, but persist for weeks giving off a light, citrusy scent.
  • Hellebores, another winter bloomer. Several lovely species and cultivars appear in fall, through winter and spring.

Also see

Crabapples in the Osborne Garden and hollies in the Plant Family Collection and Shakespeare and Native Flora Gardens. Winter berries and fruits are an important food source for resident birds.

Fascinating buds that may have fuzzy scales or emerge in colorful clusters, as well as tree bark that peels or twists or seems to almost glow like fire.

The deceptively quiet forest of the Native Flora Garden. The bare branches may appear dead, but inside, they are very much alive and preparing for spring.

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