On a recent early morning outing to the Bellevue Botanical Gardens I enjoyed seeing the winter garden. The plants that really stood out for me were the grasses. Most were drying and golden brown, but the texture and shape was outstanding. While many plants drop their leaves and disappear below the frosty substrate, the grasses are standing tall. They are moving and sparkling in the sunlight. It seems as if the earth is inhaling and exhaling, like the air rushing out of the a whale’s blowhole. The earth is spouting grasses! They haven’t melted into the earth, but rather are upright and true, greeting the distant winter sun.
Other plants were noticeable for their berries, fruit or flowers. Camellias are a sure bet for the winter, but I was surprised to see this Daphne still in bloom. The rose hips were shiny and bright and are a great point of winter interest. These were from a white rugosa rose.
Finally, winter would not be complete without the beautiful and graceful silhouette of a Japanese Maple. Normally hidden from view, winter is the time to admire the searching stems and breathless branches of Acer palmatum, one of my favorite trees.