As winter sets in here in Michigan, I’m seeing gardeners deploying winter protection. Like this, which I saw on a visit to Hidden Lake Gardens with some friends recently:
Well. Isn’t that attractive? Come around to the far side, and you see this:
Pinus contorta ‘Chief Joseph’ which is a stunningly beautiful conifer, green in the summer, this brilliant shade of gold in the winter. Sadly, those gold needles are also incredibly prone to turning a less brilliant shade of brown if exposed to too much winter sun and wind. Hence the ever-so-attractive sun-and-wind shade they’ve installed here.
Call me old-fashioned, but the point of a garden is to be pretty, and though you CAN wrap delicate shrubs in burlap or upend styrofoam cones over tender roses or even (yes, I’ve seen it) put little roofs over your hardy succulents to keep excess rain off of them, but is it really worth it? For me, if I have to put something ugly on my plants to keep them healthy, it isn’t worth it. In my garden, I’d lean towards something else I also saw on that visit:
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Crippsii’ No, it isn’t quite as stunning as the pine… but it will grow and not turn brown, with no fuss.
What about you? Are there plants you are willing to make your garden ugly to keep happy?