Monday, December 29, 2014

Winter wonder

Until meeting naturalist Mary Anne Borge recently, I was one of those people who write off winter as brown, ugly and not worth paying attention to, at least from a gardening standpoint. Then Mary Anne took me on a three-hour winter walk through Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope. I now see winter so differently. I've been noticing the skeletons of trees, the texture and color of their bark, their outline against the sky, the light, the berries, almost everything I used to ignore or not truly see. Mary Anne's right. Winter is a beautiful time of year, in part because we gardeners get to rest but in large measure because everything looks so different. This is a mahonia bush in my front garden. How interesting it is, and how odd it seems to find bright green out there at the end of December. It was one of many discoveries I made last week on vacation. Another was a patch of sage out in the otherwise dormant vegetable garden poking through the snow. It was put to excellent use in a new recipe for dinner. Isn't vacation great? I'd like more, please.

Winter wonder

Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)
Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

Until meeting naturalist Mary Anne Borge recently, I was one of those people who write off winter as brown, ugly and not worth paying attention to, at least from a gardening standpoint. Then Mary Anne took me on a three-hour winter walk through Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope. I now see winter so differently. I've been noticing the skeletons of trees, the texture and color of their bark, their outline against the sky, the light, the berries, almost everything I used to ignore or not truly see.  Mary Anne's right. Winter is a beautiful time of year, in part because we gardeners get to rest but in large measure because everything looks so different. This is a mahonia bush in my front garden. How interesting it is, and how odd it seems to find bright green out there at the end of December. It was one of many discoveries I made last week on vacation. Another was a patch of sage out in the otherwise dormant vegetable garden poking through the snow. It was put to excellent use in a new recipe for dinner. Isn't vacation great? I'd like more, please. 

About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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