My own gardens are planted so that they are in bloom most months—and I work on them for several hours every day. Many of my garden-design clients do not have that much time or the desire to do this kind of work. So I adapt designs for them by using lots of flowering shrubs instead of perennials.
Because the river, woods, and field of the adjacent wildlife sanctuary are so lovely in winter, my plantings provide little in the way of a winter show. Once the snow flies, the natural environment takes center stage until the first spring bulbs begin to bloom. Even in the dead of winter, seedheads and garden structures provide interest. My favorite time to look at and think about the garden is in January, when there is absolutely nothing I can do!
Neither the naturalistic “farm pond” nor the lily pond (right) has a filtration system. Water lilies, hardy varieties planted in pots resting on the bottom of the ponds, curb algae growth. In the winter I simply let the ponds freeze. Native turtles and frogs have taken up residence.