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Garden design in climates with high snowfall

Posted by forestguy (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 29, 06 at 19:36

Dear Colleagues
I am searching for information on garden design for places with high snowfall. By this I do not mean plants and structures that are resistant against the frost and snowload, but design ides that make the most of the amazing features snow can bring into a garden environment - such as contrasts to dark coniferous trees, shadow on snow surfaces or dwarf conifers that form "mysterious" shapes and structures under a snowcover. Would anyone be aware of any literature on the use of snow as a "Garden element" - or know anyone, who would have designed a garden to make most of its beauty under a snowcover?
This would be of great help.
Thanks and best wishes

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Garden design in climates with high snowfall

Arctostaphylos glauca might prove to be an interesting snow plant. The genus is evergreen, I believe, and the foliage of A. glauca is silvery, so it would blend with the snow. The trunks of the species are quite dramatic, and I have noticed that the canopies of mature trees create immense, dome-like structures. I have also seen some rather interesting "snow flowers" on various species of Datura, although they look like an eyesore if you're not looking for that particular feature. Amaryllis can survive in pretty low temperatures, so it might be worthwhile to look into that, too.

RE: Garden design in climates with high snowfall

I used to live in a very high snow load area, typically up to five feet. This kind of snow can do a lot of damage to young trees and bushes. I did have an Alberta Spruce that made an interesting mound under the snow, but it looked so awful for the first part of the spring and early summer, while it was recovering.

The most beautiful effect that I got was in keeping a small pond going, using the kind of water heater used for a horse trough. We kept a path shoveled to the pond, so it was visible from the front door, and of course you could see it from the second floor. The birds loved it too.

Another beautiful thing we did with the snow was excavate a snow patio, with a fire pit in the middle. The walls of the snow patio were up to five feet high, and we could cut ledges and shelves into it to hold food and drink. A neighbor once excavated entire snow benches around their fire pit, and used thick plastic mats on them for insulation against the cold.

I've since moved to a city that is much colder, but the snow is much more reasonable here. Anything with red berries here stands out beautifully against the snow, whereas in the interior of BC, where I was, the snow just weighed everything down, and there wasn't a berry to be seen.

RE: Garden design in climates with high snowfall

We don't get that much snow anymore, but it sounds like a lot of fun. I just stick out a bird feeder and birdbath. Take stuff out to fill them. Like hot water and sunflower seeds. Perhaps i could do more and it might be fun.

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