Saturday, January 22, 2011

Snow Catchers in the Garden

We're in the middle of an unusually snowy winter this year in central Illinois. December saw the heaviest snowfall on record (19+ inches) and we've had several accumulating storms since the New Year. It's rare that the garden is covered so consistently with white mulch, but this year we've barely seen the ground.

As I walked through the garden this morning under overcast skies that did nothing to warm the 11°F air temperature, I noted all the different ways that the garden catches and holds onto the fallen snow.

Some plants like Hylotelephium and Echinacea collect snow as mounded hats on their dried seed heads.

Hylotelelphium 'Matrona'

Echinacea purpurea
Evergreens tend to pile the snow in rows along the topside or between their branches.

Picea pungens 'Fat Albert'

Buxus 'Wintergreen'

Pinus mugo

Thuga occidentalis 'Emerald Green'
Even the garden art gets in the snow collection act. I always enjoy the way our frog family peeks out from under a cover of snow.

The dried flower heads of Hydrangea and Miscanthus look especially beautiful interlaced with snow.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Little Lamb'
Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'
Hydrangea paniculata 'Pink Diamond'
If the snow is wet enough as it falls, it will often collect inside a curled leaf still hanging from a deciduous shrub. This balancing act is a true work of art to my eye, appearing as if the shrub was gently cradling the snow.

Hamamelis vernalis 

Weigela florida 'Variegata'
Finally, branches and crotches of the deciduous trees serve as wide platforms for mounds of snow, which often make an attractive combination with the blue-tinged lichen that grows along the branches.

Amelanchier arborea

Acer rubrum

Malus sp.


  1. I love your winter pics! Looks just like Michigan! ;)

  2. Great photos! Just glad it's your snow and not mine. I am so ready for spring.

  3. What beautiful fluffy snow and what gorgeous pictures. I enjoyed looking at them. The frog is very cute!

  4. we had about 5 feet of snow in December and then a rapid thaw on New Year's we are back to about 4 feet of frigid blanketing snow...I love how the garden catches it...great pics

  5. Thanks for the comments. It was so beautiful outside today, they were easy to capture. Almost forgot how cold it was!