February 10, 2020

I’ve been paying a little closer attention to the barren branches, grasses and dried seed heads in people’s gardens this winter. I’ve noticed how very beautiful they look, especially when covered with a light sprinkle of snow. Hydrangeas are lovely and delicate in winter, and so are those tall pompoms when they lose their purple flowers. Queen Anne’s Lace is so dainty and intricate, and I love the way ornamental grasses look in a frost. “I think I am more moved by something that is dying sometimes than moved by something that is alive,” says Netherlands-born garden designer Piet Oudolf. “When the flower is over you get the seed heads. You get the grasses that flower. You get these sort of skeletons. And that has its own charm.” Few things bring me joy like a full petaled poppy, or a plump hydrangea. But there is great beauty, another kind of beauty, in the bare stillness of what is left behind.


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