Powell Gardens received 8 inches of sparkling fresh, powdery snow overnight creating a clean insulating blanket of white over the gardens. Today's crystal blue skies and peaceful atmosphere made a walk through the Perennial very special. Here's what some of the "bones" of this delightful winter landscape look like now:]
A view from the south "Shade Native Garden" end of the Perennial Garden across our frozen lake to the Visitor Center on the far hill depicts the quiet beauty of the garden's scenery. We have cleared a walking path through all the main walks of the garden so any visitor may experience the beauty of our winter landscape. Rarely do we have so much snow!
The sculpture armillary and its shadow: we are a day short of one month past the Winter Solstice so the long shadows are getting shorter each day as we are now two months out from the Vernal Equinox (Spring!). Tomorrow, 2/3rds of the dark half of our year is over!
Diospyros virginiana) grove in the Woodland Garden portion of the Perennial Garden shows off very lovely wintertime trunks caked in bluish-gray lichens. Every time I walk through these clumps of trees I think of why I never promote "standard spacing" for plants. This would not have the same feel if they were all 10 or 20 feet apart! Be brave, dare to plant things (other than birches) in clumps and groves.
Redbud (Cercis canadensis) still support snow. I actually like the brown pea pod fruit as a bit of extra ornament. Some have told me they hate it that the pods hang on the tree and look ugly, to each their own I guess but this is how our native redbud is supposed to look in winter.
The pods of the Japanese Pagodatree (Sophora japonica) make a nice contrast with the blue winter sky. This color would not be anything special in the brilliance of our summer sun but adds a good bit of interest to the winter landscape. This tree is much revered in Eastern Asia where it graces many temples in China, Korea and Japan.
The twisting-pendant branches of Scarlet Curls Willow (Salix x erythroflexuosa) are almost cranberry red on the sunny side but the camera mutes them to an almost champagne color. None-the-less this is a very lovely tree in the winter landscape. It's a hybrid between the Corkscrew Willow and the Golden Weeping Willow. You can see the snow-covered tapestry hedge in the background.
The interesting patchwork of gray and furrowed bark on this native Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) trunk is the result of a fungus that makes it slough off. It doesn't harm the tree and is characteristic of the Swamp White and White Oaks (Quercus alba) which otherwise would have much more flaky bark.
The warty trunk of this Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) is exceptional in the "Woodland Garden" north end of the Perennial Garden. You can see the frozen lake, prairie grasses in the meadow and the chapel in the background. Can you identify the tree to the back and right? It's a Swamp white oak with its patchy gray trunk; the tree to the back left is a Shagbark Hickory with its characteristic shaggy bark.
The Sparkleberry Hollies (Ilex serrata 'Sparkleberry) have endured below zero temperatures and lost a bit of their red sparkle. We got down to -7F one night at Powell Gardens last week. The snow cover was a good insulating blanket for most plants. The more urban core of Greater Kansas City did not even drop below zero!