Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Senescence - Winter Garden Beauty

I was inspired by a recent article in Horticulture magazine by Caleb Melchior called 'A Celebrated Senescence: Dried flower heads, curious seedpods and withering leaves can carry a garden through winter'.

I often talk with clients about proper pruning in their gardens and I let them know that they do not have to cut all their perennial plants back in the fall.  Allowing some plants to stand tall through the winter adds structure, interest, seeds and habitat for wildlife.

In my garden I let the Black-eyed Susans stay uncut and though it is not a large swatch of a planting as you might see in Piet Oudolf's garden in the Netherlands, when the ground is covered in snow and those dark eyed beauties poke through, it is beautiful.

Piet Oudolf's garden Hummelo during Winter

Senescence - the natural process of decay.  I find that I am attracted to that word, it flows off the tongue and brings to mind ethereal unworldly things.

In nature it is the seed heads of plants or flower heads.  One of my favorite plants is the yellow lantern Clematis because after the yellow flowers, the seed heads are gorgeous:

Imagine these covered in frost?

One last photo to encourage your appreciation of senescence:

Echinacea in the winter garden at Hummelo, Piet Outdolf's nursery garden.