How snow play can improve the landscape

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The neighbors laugh and we think that's great because we do aim to entertain. Yet it's serious landscape work we're doing here. 

Snow people sit right on the bones of a landscape


The other day a light snow fell. From the first push of the shovel we knew it was great snowman snow. We threw some, wheelbarrowed more, packed the mounds and sculpted them. Then we used food coloring and water in a spray bottle to brighten the scene.

You might think this is all play and we certainly do have fun with it. Yet it's also a design exercise. Nature's giving us all a clean slate and easily doodled white canvas plus the wherewithal to pile up or scrape away with ease. Put a new focal point out in the yard, see how you like it, let it melt away -- no sweat!

Take a snow shovel and draw new bed lines, no worries about working around that peony or seeing past that rose -- they're all out of the picture for the season. We can be really free in our thinking

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Can't stand to shovel? Food coloring is a bright marker on snow, yet easily erased.SnowTeddyBear1126.jpg

Our teddy bear stops the eye before it travels too quickly to the front door. By making the eye spend more time perusing a scene, a designer can make the whole seem larger, with more room for interesting side trips.

Go out and play!

Go out and play when the next snow falls. Be a kid again, ignore the limits imposed by special plants and growing season chores. Then take a look at what you've done from a living room window or approaching car. We've had revelations, we've shared guffaws, and we've enjoyed the specialness of the season.

Every day is a gift and every garden is worth playing in all year. We hope you smile and pull on your boots.

More snow play and a tip from the photographer

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Our snow lions frame a focal point, the entrance to our front path. Maybe you remember the trio above, left, another other variation on that theme.

The trio appeared in What's Coming Up 82, which could combine with What's Coming Up 21's green and blue snow gardeners to form the start of another Blue Susan list -- Goofy Garden topics not yet posted here. Care to Sponsor those issues? Click here and submit a Sponsorship email naming the topic you want to Sponsor and any amount you care to contribute.

What's at an entrance sets a tone, establishes the balance and creates the first point in a visual path that can be quite different from the one your feet will take.

- Janet Macunovich -

Photographer's tip

If you take a picture of a snowy garden, take several shots, setting the exposure to overexpose at least one. That can correct for a camera's tendency to make snow scenes gray.