U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Icy Winter Garden

Isn't there one step from beauty to ugliness? But stop! Why do I call it ugliness?
After the temperature went up on Thursday January 19th, our snow turned to ice.
Having similar, and even worse previous experiences when we lived in the Midwest, helped to cope with the icy situation. Winter is not a disaster, it's a season with its own features. It's us, people, who assign those features to categories good and bad. An icy storm  might be bad for us, but it's a part of  nature.
Plants are stronger than we often think. Putting aside hybrids, most of the plants are strong and resilent enough to deal with winter conditions. It's us, gardeners, who experiment with border plants. So, if some plants freeze, it's a part of our experiment, but not the fault of winter.
Now, some pictures.
This is my tree peony. Last year, It didn't bloom since March cold froze its buds. I'd prefer an earlier January freeze.

Japanese maple in front of the house. Climate in its native Japan is challenging also, so it is prepared for severe winters.
Before the ice:

During the icy time:

Astilbe is beautiful.

Japanese forest grass before:


Doesn't it look like a hierogliph?

This is our new Japanese maple planted last summer.
Here, it's covered by light fluffy snow:

Here comes the ice:

Joe Pye Weed heads look like snowflakes on their tall legs:
Ice made their stems to bend. I thought they will break. But, they stand straight again after the ice  melts!

Burning bush is adorable:

Usually, I was able to walk straight under this limb.
Not now, when the heavy snow bent it to the ground:

Grasses are irreplacable in winter as well as in summer!

Stipa tenuissima

Carex before the ice came: 
And after. The snow crust was pretty thick!

Sedum. I'm so glad I didn't cut it down: 
Sedum with ice:

Alder along the road:

Love the raspberry color inside the icy case:

Me and doggy:

This is Hebe 'Tricolor'. Will I blame the winter if it freezes? Nope! It's suitable for zone 9b. Our zone is 7b.
We still have snow - crusty and heavy. But, the garden plants look good. It was time when my privet and escalonia hedge looked horrible. I helped them a bit by shaking ice lightly from underneath. Well, now they look like nothing happened.
I hope your gardens are doing well!

***Copyright 2012 TatyanaS


  1. It's remarkable how snow and ice changes the landscape. Your ice photos are so different from the snow photos you recently posted. The Joe Pye weed looks very resilient.

  2. For some reason I couldn't comment on your previous posting, glad I am able to today. love how the ice encases the stems, making them glisten. We have alders here, love the male and female flowers.

  3. Takie jest przyrody prawo, robi co chce . Piękny jest kolorowy ogród latem, ale rośliny w lodzie zimą też maja swój urok. Szkoda tylko, że może to zaszkodzić roślinom. Piękne zdjęcia zrobiłaś, a zdjęcie z różą jest wspaniałe.Pozdrawiam. *** This is a natural right, he does what he wants. Beautiful is a colorful garden in the summer, but plants in the winter ice also have their own charm. It is a pity that this can harm plants. Beautiful pictures done, and the picture of a rose is great. Yours.

  4. Tatyana,
    My favorite is the carex photo. Looks very cold for your garden guessing it'll melt and be a memory before you know it. Now I have to sit by the wood stove to warm up.

  5. We have got lots of snow but no ice yet! The temps are supposed to rise tonight with rain storms, can you believe this weather?


  6. Another thing about this blogging... I can just have a look into so many gardens all over the world. I had never even heard of icestorms until now. Thanks for the beautiful pictures you shared again Tatyana. I do realize icestorms not only bring beauty but you certainly found the beauty in it. Amazing how every little twig has a layer of ice all around. Love the picture 'from down up', showing the most gorgeous blue sky. We've only had grey skies over here lately.

  7. I hate how heavy the snow and ice get. It's sad to see the limbs bending so low. You are right that we are the ones that push the zones at times, and at times, we pay for it. I hope your garden comes through this with no damage.

  8. You've posted some truly beautiful photos of your plants encased in ice. Looks like there wasn't too much damage from the storm. I'm sure whatever trees and shrubs were heavily laden have now sprung right back up!

  9. Beautiful photos Tatyana. Even in this potentially devastating weather, the beauty that is to be found makes it worth it (hopefully!) Crossing my fingers your garden and that it stayed strong through the freeze, wasn't it crazy!! Love the Rose bud encased in ice. Cheers Julia

  10. I agree with you it are the seansons of the year. You captured nature in ice beautifuly.
    gr. Marijke

  11. Great pictures and that looks COLD

  12. The snow photos are wonderful, but ice brings a beauty of it's own. You've captured that beauty splendidly.

  13. What magnificent photos, Tatyana! I know you can see the destruction, but my romantic eye, which can not even begin to imagine being that cold, can only see the beauty. Thanks for sharing! Jack

  14. Marvellous pictures Tatyana, I have never seen ice encased plants such as these. It may be cold but you have proven to us that there is beauty in every season.

  15. SO much beauty in there Tatyana, no ugliness at all!

  16. Really fantastic post. Looking at it, I can't help but imagine my own garden draped with colorful plants. Also, I think if anyone wants to design a garden, one important factor to consider is on how will that garden would look like during winter. That way, you can be certain that your garden will look fantastic all year round.



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