Garden Design

My name is Kevin Kelly, and I have submitted photos of my 1/3-acre suburban garden in the past. It is now January, and we finally had our first snow. Over the years I have strived to create a four-season garden. I have added dwarf conifers to the garden beds as well as plants that have multiple seasons of interest. I do not “clean up” the garden in the fall, except to remove any diseased plant material that might overwinter. I am located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and I garden in Zone 6b. I hope you enjoy my winter garden.

front garden looking to the westHere is a photo of my front garden looking to the west. I am standing on the walkway leading to the front door (to the left). This walk bisects the front yard. I keep conifers out in containers to add interest (making sure they are hardy to at least Zone 5 so they will survive.

Here is Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’ (Zones 5–8) in the morning as the storm passed. The sunrise was beautiful.

birdhouseI built this birdhouse with a green roof about 10 years ago. The sedum on the roof is still going strong. I love the snow-covered dried panicles of Hydrangea paniculatum ‘Pinky Winky’ (Zones 4–8).

trees covered in snowThis is a photo looking from the driveway toward the backyard. I have made the path narrow and curved to limit the view, which makes it feel more spacious.

ClethraI love the snow on the dried seed capsules of Clethra alnifolia (Zones 3–9). This is a wonderful native shrub with very fragrant flowers in the summer.

HakonechloaI am standing on my patio in the backyard looking west. The snowy winter landscape is a great way to look at the structure of the garden. The curving beds gently pull the eye along, while the evergreens frame the view. The browned Hakonechloa macra (Zones 5–9) spills onto the paths, and the color echoes the shed.

Acer griseumAcer griseum (Zones 4–8) is a wonderful small tree with peeling bark that enhances the landscape through every season but looks especially good in the winter.

blue jaysThere are four blue jays that frequent the garden on a daily basis. We watch them from the window of our breakfast nook. I find it amazing that when we throw some peanuts onto the patio, they arrive within five minutes to collect them.

Pinus bungeanaPinus bungeana, the lacebark pine (Zones 4–8), is a slow-growing conifer that has an amazing exfoliating bark. It reveals a patchwork of olive, light purple, and silver. This cultivar is ‘Compacta’ and is about 10 feet tall after 15 years in the garden.

Acer rubrum and Pinus cembraI love how the morning light passes through the bare branches of Acer rubrum ‘Red Sunset’ (Zones 4–9). The conifer in the front is Pinus cembra (Swiss stone pine, Zones 4–7).

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