Enjoying the splendor of winter at Fellows Riverside Gardens

Many people tend to think of the garden in winter as a quiet time, a time of inactivity.

(Blog courtesy of Lynn Zocolo, Fellow Riverside Gardens educator, and the Mahoning County OSU Extension)

The flowers are gone, the leaves have fallen, the evergreens are huddled against the cold.

They feel there is nothing to see.

When in fact, winter in the garden is a time of special beauty and an opportunity to notice the finer details that you might normally miss; berries sparkling on shrubs, the bare silhouette of deciduous trees or the evergreens that provide a lush backdrop.

When the snow does come, it transforms the garden, giving it an entirely new perspective.

Can’t get out into your own garden?

Then plan a visit to Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek MetroParks and take a walk on a brisk winter morning.

You may be the first to enjoy the fresh white canvas or the first to hear the quiet.

As you walk in the Gardens, teach yourself to “see” winter.

There are no leaves to distract you, and the combination of the sun and snow bring out the colors and simple structures of the plants.

Each plant has its own winter personality, and there is something new to see all winter long.

Notice the evergreens standing tall against the sky as they form the backbone of the winter landscape with their contrasting shapes, sizes and variety of rich colors.

The bare branches of the deciduous trees reveal their forms.

Seeing the kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa “Milky Way”) in the shade garden in the winter allows you to appreciate its beautiful form that is usually hidden during the other seasons of the year.

Tree bark is another feature in the Gardens that really stands out against the starkness of the snow. On the DeYor Concourse, the cinnamon red-brown peeling bark of the paperbark maple (Acer griseum) is simply breathtaking after a new snowfall.

The green striped bark of the striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum) immediately catches your eye as you stroll down the path behind the gazebo.

The camouflage green and brown bark of the Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamilla) pops out of nowhere to create a background for the fragrance garden.

The winter colors in the Gardens are more subtle, more gentle.

Now it is the earthy browns and greens that dominate the landscape.

When you least expect it, there is a flash of color from the vibrant red berries of the American hollies or the soft yellow flowers of a witch hazel (Hamamelis).

In late winter, look close and you may see snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii), winter aconite (Eranthis) or hellebores.

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