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A little snow magic

Posted by woodyoak 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 29, 11 at 15:05

I always find the first dusting of snow on the garden to be a magical time. We only have deep snow here for relatively brief periods usually, but a light fall that makes the layout of beds and paths very visable is the most common state of snow in the the garden in winter. We had our first dusting of snow this morning. The path system in my garden is one of its defining features and the snow highlights it well. The smooth snow on the paths vs. the rougher snow on the beds is a pattern that remains even after a fairly heavy snowfall (which usually only happens mid-Jan. to mid- Feb.) This is what 'winter interest' looks like here:

From the back porch looking across to patio and north backyard beds to under the white pines:
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From the living room window looking at the south backyard beds and shed area:
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From the office window looking down the center path through the south backyard beds:
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You can relate the pictures to the backyard garden as a whole by looking at this drawing of the backyard garden:
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(Note the absence of wiggly bed edges :- )

I tried to find somewhat matching summer pictures of the above winter views... They're not exact matches but in the neighbourhood...:

From the back porch to the pines in August:
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Early July looking south by the shed:
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Looking from the office window in late May:
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So the winter and summer gardens here are quite different but each have their own particular charms.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: A little snow magic

Your poor shed has taken a tilt to the left since July woody is it the snow on the roof do you think? Talking of snow we get that much in August over here we had to plow the drive again this morning when it was minus 18.


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RE: A little snow magic

The tilt is in me, not the shed - I can never hold the camera straight for some reason! :-)

I much prefer the winters here to the Montreal (and NB) winters of my younger days... Having that big heat sink - called Lake Ontario - sitting about 1000 ft from the garden has a big effect on the climate in the garden. It can be snowwing a mile or two north and raining here. A bit better snow cover would be good for the garden at times but I'm generally happy with the milder fall and winter here. The flip side is the spring is late and cold because it takes the lake a long time to warm up again.


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RE: A little snow magic

Geez and there's been barely a dusting here too. I'm in Manitoba, woody's in Ohio and I thought you were in BC, ink.
Isn't this all bass ackwards?

Your gardens are really appealing, woody - exuberant plantings within a rather formal layout visible only at this time of year.
Cool juxtaposition. Rather European. Exactly how you planned it, eh?

Even in my own young, modest backyard, the bones are showing right now too. I see paths and curves but not those loathsome wiggles :) Even though we northerners don't get to garden all year round, we do have the advantage of being able to step back and evaluate our initial concept without all that extraneous plant "camouflage". I'm enjoying watching the whole evolution of my landscape but sadly,
I will have to live here two lifetimes to see the oak and ash and ohio buck-eye mature.

Dec 29, 2011! Looking NW Dec 29! Empty pond Dec 29!  Looking NE


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RE: A little snow magic

No adrienne I am in Quebec just south of Montreal it is my karma for wild oats sown earlier. If I showed some 'today' pictures you would understand at least one Inuit word for snow...blanket.


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RE: A little snow magic

Adrienne - I'm in Ontario (north side of the lake) not Ohio :-) 'Lake effect' conditions here can be quite different than on the south side of the lake where 'lake effect' is most often associated with large dumps of snow. Cold air moving down from the north picks up moisture crossing the lake, and then dumps it all as snow when is reaches the other side. That kind of heavy snow usually only happens here if the wind is coming hown the lake from the NE. Since the prevailing winds are NW, we only get a few big dumps of snow in winter usually.

'exactly how you planned it'... Yeah, right.... :-) Only half true - the first 6-7 years or so in the garden development were very ad hoc. Then inspiration struck while trying to figure out why I was unhappy with the shape of the back lawn and the beds around it. Ink had suggested some reading for me, including A Pattern Language. That really helped create the 'lightbulb moment' re the importance of shaping negative space. Once I got the lawn 'right', the rest fell out naturally.

The dogs were also an important factor! :-) The basis of the path network is their usual lines of travel as they patrol perimenters.

I don't see wiggly edges in your garden either. You might want to check your library for a copy of the Garden magazine article I referred to in that other thread. I think you'd see some interesting parallels between the grass path/lawn in that article and your own.


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RE: A little snow magic

Ah, I was labouring under false pretenses. Thank you. I was actually born in Southern Ontario, raised in Montreal, did some of my schooling in Halifax and England and now travel 2/3 of my life to work on reserves in the near arctic from my prairie home south of Winnipeg...and I've loved them all. Along the way, I have learned to appreciate snow "blankets" but truthfully, you all get a lot more snow in the east than will ever be seen here. In Cree by the way, the word is "koona" - there is no proper word for "garden".


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RE: A little snow magic

woodyoak, not sure if you will take this as a compliment, but I copied your shed colors on my chicken coop. I remembered the thread about which colors to choose, looked it up, and approximated it. The chickens are happy :-)


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RE: A little snow magic

gottagarden - I hope you're happy about it too... :-)


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RE: A little snow magic

I love how the dusting of snow highlights the bones of your gardens. It rained here - no more snow. Seems like we never get just a dusting; its either nothing or 3 feet :)

This may be too personal a question, but I am wondering what the interior of your homes are like? Does the style of your garden reflect the style in your interior? (I have one client who will only allow me to plant annuals that coordinate with her interior design:)


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RE: A little snow magic

@ drtygrl - It's interesting that you asked that because I noticed on another thread that your exterior colours and materials were
very similar to my own. Even the interior shot of the skis on your dining room wall looked identical. Do you also lean towards
classic, comfortable, naturalistic and well crafted?

Having said that, I would think that if anyone cares enough about the aesthetics of their surroundings, and can control it,
there would be some commonality in all that they have a hand in designing. How many people are there likely to be who love
Victorian frou-frou yet have a zen garden and live in an MCM bungalow?

Or maybe your lady client is a little OCD? I know that, except for my breakfast beverage, there are no shades of anything orange anywhere in my life :)


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RE: A little snow magic

drtygrl - in my case, I'd say probably yes, there are similarities, but not deliberate ones. For example, I use pale colors and white as dominant colors in the garden but with deep, intense colors as accents. Much of the house interior is also pastel tones - but the dining room is raspberry red and there are deep, cool reds in the other main 'public' rooms of the house. The furniture is a mix of casual (with classic lines) and antiques or reproductions. So, while I don't deliberately plan for the inside and outside to 'match', I'd say my taste stays the same whether you're talking house, garden, or clothing!

You can judge for yourself from these interior pictures I have posted before on other GW forums:

Looking down the hallway into the living room:
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The back porch is accessed through patio doors immediately to the right at the end of the 'gallery wall' (which is lined with pictures of the garden/its flowers. DH is a very good photographer.)

Part of the living room - the shed is directly across from the bow window; only a small piece of the shed shows in this shot because of the angle the picture. You can see the office on the left side.
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Part of the office - you can see the window that looks down the center path through the beds to the left of the shed:

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The dining room (the color in the picture is not 'true - the actual color is a more intense raspberry-red...) The bow window in the dining room faces the driveway and from the seat at the head of the table you can see the main front bed, looking down the path through the iron arbour. The seats opposite the window see the driveway border. The seat at the foot of the table can see the 'hot' garden on the south side of the driveway.

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So, do you think the house and garden style are similar? Do your house and garden share similar styles?


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RE: A little snow magic

I think the styles are similar, but not what I expected! I thought because of our recent discussion of bed edges that your interior design would be a bit more contemporary with traditional touches. But I would call that more traditional, and the white and pale colors reflects the clean lines of your garden. One of the things that I think most of us would have in common is the way your house allows the outside to become part of the inside.

One of the reasons I asked about your interior Woody, is that I was wondering if you would consider putting up some art on that shed. Now that I see how much of a focal point from inside as well as out, I think you should put a cool piece of art on it. I have an iron celtic knot that comes to mind, or I am thinking of a neighbor's metal sculpture of a flying goose.

@adrienne I lean towards classic, outdoors inside, bright colors, but really really uncluttered. All the colors in my interior are very rich and full if thats an okay description :) We actually don't have a dining room - the skis are in my kitchen. Comfortable and happy are also important. I think that is descriptive of my garden too, but I am a bit more tolerant of chaos out there. Thats more reflective of having less time to take care of it.

I don't know about the interior of your house, adrienne, but the garden looks similar! I actually took some pictures of my garden this fall because I need to do some major planning this winter for a big spring project . I was going to post them in a new thread for everyones ideas, but I am just trying to find the time to finish up a base plan to post. Maybe I should post some interior pics too!


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RE: A little snow magic

I found some pics of the inside of my house. We were trying out furniture arrangements, and the furniture is not exactly like this right now, and we have added a few tables and stuff - but it gives you an idea.

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RE: A little snow magic

drtygrl - the only place for art on the shed (that would be easily visible) is in the peak over the door. I haven't seen anything I'd consider suitable. I'm leery of iron things because I don't want to have to deal with rust streaking on the shed, and all iron things rust eventually...

'Traditional' is probably a reasonable description. I grew up in a farmhouse (built in the late 1800s) on the east coast of Canada. My maternal great-grandfather was a cabinet-maker and he built much of the interior trim, cupboards and furniture. The style - and colors - of things in the interior of that house have a habit of appearing in this one! (The print on the wall at the head of the dining room table is one that is very similar to one that used to hang in the dining room at 'home'.) I chose shingle siding for the shed for nostalgic reason - that was the standard finish I grew up with and is still what feels 'right' to me - one never entirely escapes one's youth! :-)

I look forward to seeing your project thread...


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RE: A little snow magic - cont.

drtygrl - we were posting at the same time.... That interior is a good match for the exterior :-) I particularly like those leather chairs - they'd fit well here too.


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RE: A little snow magic

Oooh, we are so OT now.

You know woody, if you hadn't said that you were raised in the maritimes, I probably could have guessed it from the love of raspberry red in the home. With that and your wonderful shed, I'm betting that you still have a lilt in your accent too :)

And I could live quite happily in your home, drtygrl. There are a lot of similarities in our styles, except I think I'm a little more cluttered - I prefer to think of it as "layered", maybe even "complex". And I love your dog. You can just see him looking at you, wondering what the heck you're up to and if there are any snacks involved.

I took some pictures when I got home this afternoon. It's hard to capture wall colour on camera but mine is BM's HC-80. In every picture though, not only is there an animal lurking somewhere (think Where's Waldo?) but there's also an orb or a black mist. Good thing I'm not the nervous sort.

So, here are my interior shots, not just to see if there is congruity in my design mentality between the inside and outside of my home but also in honour of all ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasties. If you double click on a photo, you'll see it larger with an explanation. Tell me what you think...
Dining room copy Living room copy TV corner copy Bedroom - no flash Bedroom - with flash #1 Bedroom - with flash #2 Kitchen floor


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RE: A little snow magic

Woody, this year we have our snowfall timed to match yours! The hellebores look really cool until they collapse under the weight, and my garden table shows its lacy pattern best with a light dusting. As for the interior, mine ranges from Peppi Longstocking to IKEA, only picture I got is of the blue wallpaper I'm looking at now, son demanded a submarine so I made one:


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RE: A little snow magic

timbu - I'll not be able to get the song 'Yellow Submarine' out of my head all day now! :-)


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RE: A little snow magic

Oh you lucky (or disciplined) clutter-free individuals!! My goal for 2012 is to be able to just casually snap a few photos of either my house OR my yard and post them, embarrassment-free. Hmm, maybe if I spend less time on the forums...
Ah well, if I wasn't misspending time here I would probably be doing something even less productive. Happy New Year to all, and thanks for the continuing mental and aesthetic stimulation.

Karin L


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RE: A little snow magic

Adrienne we do have surprisingly similar taste! I love your style, and I especially love the green plates in your china cabinet. I know that is an odd thing to say, but the color of them just jumps out of that photograph.

Love the blue stripe wallpaper and amazing lego sub! I have to admit I didn't realize pippi longstocking did interior design :)


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RE: A little snow magic

Ditto what Karin said re the stimulation of spending time here. Happy New Year to all!


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RE: A little snow magic

Woody- your garden is beautiful! I love the different moods of the snow dusted and spring pictures. The office view of your woodland garden in the spring is my favorite, but I enjoyed them all. I also love your adorable shed and how it looks like a little cottage in the woods. My husband is in the middle of building a little structure in our backyard and I have fantasies of it looking like that someday. Thanks for sharing your pictures.


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RE: A little snow magic

Thanks almondstriations. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures - the backyard 'woodland'is our favorite part of the garden.


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