Snow in the Garden
While we’ve been graced with some unseasonable sun the last couple of weeks, it’s still winter here in Oregon. Last month, we talked about all that there is to see in a garden during the “off season” – colorful berries, interesting seedheads, plant structure and more. But in 2017, we experienced a rarer and more unusual example of breathtaking winter beauty: snow in the Garden! The city of Silverton was blessed with an unexpected white Christmas, and those who found themselves at The Oregon Garden on December 26th were treated to a sight we don’t often see in this part of Oregon. The occasion called for lots of pictures, of course, and in this post I’ll be sharing some of the snaps taken by our staff, members and guests.
Fan palms and heavenly bamboo blanketed in snow. By Rebecca Reeve.
Rebecca Reeve is the newest addition to our horticulture team, and she came aboard just in time to experience our very own winter wonderland. Rebecca comes to The Oregon Garden with a degree in Horticulture from Oregon State University: specifically, Plant Breeding and Genetics. She appreciates the opportunity to work outside and get her hands dirty – something quite different from the sterility of lab work! Rebecca took pictures of the palms in our Children’s Garden covered with snow (above left) and a gorgeous shot of the rainbow-colored, snow-encrusted leaves of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica, above right).
And who could resist the image of our iconic Pot People under a soft dusting of snow, pictured below?
The Oregon Garden’s infamous Pot People enjoy a white Christmas. By Rebecca Reeve.
A frozen snapshot of the entry water feature. By Madeline Pearce.
Salem resident Nicholas Pearce and his daughter Madeline took this unique opportunity to visit the Garden for the first time! What they found was a scene many people have yet to see. It was the perfect scenario for Madeline, an aspiring photographer, who took the opportunity to grab some stunning shots while her dad captured the moment with his phone. Above, one of the first sights they encountered: the waterfalls and pond that greet visitors as they proceed up the driveway.
Stands of windmill palms (Trachycarpus fortunei) covered in snow. By Madeline Pearce.
Bright red leaves of Nandina domestica show through their frosty jacket. By Madeline Pearce.
Like Rebecca, Madeline couldn’t resist the striking contrast of the exotic-looking windmill palm and the fire-colored leaves of heavenly bamboo against the cold, white snow. These plants demonstrate how gardeners can achieve a tropical feel with low-maintenance perennials that provide year-round interest and have no problem weathering a sudden cold snap.
Instead of leaves, the snow gives this tree frost-tipped branches. By Nicholas Pearce.
The Axis Fountain provides a breathtaking view of the Garden. By Madeline Pearce.
Above are two stunning shots of a tree, fine branches frozen, in our Northwest Garden, and the view from the Axis Fountain, everything covered in a blanket of white. Not only was this surprise snow a perfect example of how winter can change the landscape entirely, but it illustrates another perk of visiting the Garden off-season: often, you have acres all to yourself. These pictures capture the feeling of quiet peacefulness that I imagine all visitors felt that day, and the sense of relaxation that accompanies a walk through any natural space.
The orange berries of Ilex verticillata and red branches of Cornus sanguinea, covered in snow. By Barbara Niemic.
Long-time Garden Members and Silverton residents Fred and Barbara Niemic also paid the Garden a visit on this special day. Having been members for the past fourteen years, it’s not the first time they’ve seen snow in the Garden, but it is one of the few occasions they’ve been able to take photos. The Niemics enjoy regular visits to the Garden, frequently beginning their walks through the ponds of our wetlands, one of their favorite areas.
Guests at The Oregon Garden – first timers and long timers alike – will always find something new and beautiful to see, and days like this are a great example of why the Garden warrants repeated visits, season after season and year after year.