Successful winter garden design relies on color and structure. Winter gardens are minimalist, they need good bones to make up for the missing greenery. Strong trees with well defined shapes and interesting bark, artful topiary, even tall pampas grasses or colorful seed heads can provide that structure.

What nature doesn’t offer, garden design can. This is a time for its hard features to shine - beautiful flagstone pathways, statuary, stone benches, decorative planters, even an empty arbor gain prominence and impart sober elegance on an otherwise barren landscape.

When everything is a shade of brown or gray, even the smallest dash of color makes a great impact - the green needles of pine trees, the fiery canes of dogwood, the orange hips of wild roses, the glut of bright red crab apples on otherwise bare branches.

Cheerful bird houses and feeders also make excellent accents, but more than that, they attract a host of colorful friends - red cardinals, blue jays, yellow chicadees, blackbirds, russet breasted robins, the list is extensive.

The most beautiful motifs are still a gift from nature: tiny dried flowers or berries encased in ice, frost edging on still green leaves, the lightest dusting of powdery snow on dark brown seed heads. Also, I have to admit that plush snowflakes falling soflty in a quiet garden, or the silvery sheen the moonlight casts on fresh snow are kind of poetic, even though I can’t say I ever miss them.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"; "The Blue Rose Manuscript"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.