Early this morning, as the thermometer clung stingily to zero, I stepped out our patio doors onto the snow-covered deck to deliver some leftover grapes and salad greens to our resident Eastern Cottontail and the other animals that frequent our property. The snow underfoot let out a loud, squeaky scream with every step through its icy crust. The air was still, but cold -- a cold that fills your lungs immediately with the shock of winter.
Everything in the landscape decorates the canvas provided by a bright blanket of snow. Seed heads that have played a supporting second chair to the brighter colors of autumn, now take center stage. Their colors and textures rise in stark contrast to the snow beneath and bright blue sky above.
The spiny seed heads of Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) stand in various states of harvest, providing a food source for finches and other birds throughout winter.
The evergreens of our front foundation border are complemented by the the deep brown and auburn of a number of Sedum cultivars.
Tender annual vines like Ipomea (Morning Glory) provide winter interest if left standing through the winter.
Even on a day when a cloudless, sunny sky cannot raise temperatures beyond single digits, the visual interest of the garden remains.