Maria von BrinckenWinter Festival in my garden

Every year I find magic right in my garden after a snowfall. Saturday’s snow was just the right consistency for creating ‘snow flowers’ that last awhile. A little wet so it lingers and when you shovel, you have to pause. What are ‘snow flowers’ you ask? I learned about this concept in a novel I read years ago. The title and author long forgotten, but the idea that in ancient Japan villagers held an annual ‘Snow Flower Festival’ nestled in my memory like a precious jewel.

Dawn, 2 days after the snowfall

Dawn, 2 days after the snowfall

The crevices in both deciduous and coniferous plants capture snow to create ‘snow flowers’. The villagers, as I remember the story, create gardens that celebrate them. It may be because it’s some mountainous place where snow reigns and the villagers need the entertainment.
Every year as I shovel, I pause (read catch my breath!) to admire the crevice filled branches and nooks.

Rose 'snow flowers'

Rose ‘snow flowers’

This year I decided I’d hold my own Winter Snow Festival. I’ve included a few of the contenders for you to consider.

Spruce snow flowers

Spruce snow flowers

Lilac snow flowers

Lilac snow flowers

Dogwood snow flowers

Dogwood snow flowers

Which is the most beautiful? Let me know which you like best so I can award the plant the “Best of 2014 Winter Festival”.

WInter container of snow flowers

WInter container of snow flowers

I do have to admit that the photos can’t include the physical sensual information. When I’m looking at them, I’m feeling the sun or snow or cold on my face, the body rush after the exercise of shoveling, the fresh air in my lungs after being housebound for the storm, and usually the sounds of birds. But perhaps you can use your imagination to add to the visuals. Or better yet, if you live with snowstorms, wander around your gardens and see what contenders you have. Happy looking.

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Maria von Brincken

About Maria von Brincken

Award-winning landscape designer, garden journalist and lecturer, certified practising designer with the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), former contributing editor to Landshapes magazine. Sudbury, Massachusetts. Read Maria's full blog at A Garden Maker's Notes

3 thoughts on “Winter Festival in my garden

  1. Adele Kellett on said:

    Thanks for a lovely write-up, and beautiful photos. My vote goes to dogwood, as it holds its snow flowers so gracefully.

    I do miss the Northern hemisphere snow…

    • Thanks, Adele. I really like the Dogwood, too. But I also favor the “star” shapes created by the spruce. I think sometimes, I would prefer to visit snow in winter.

  2. Yep, the spruce ‘flowers’ are my favourite too. Fascinating to see a well-known plant in a completely different way.

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