Note: Today’s post is sponsored by Monrovia, but my love for their plants is all my own.
I have a problem. Even though we are in the midst of winter and experiencing wave after wave of snow and ice, I’m still gardening. Spending time at Westwood Gardens on a cold winter day is a great way to stave off cabin fever. I walk through the warm, humid greenhouse, lusting after the lush Monrovia plants and dreaming of spring. Outside, fresh air is plentiful. So are shopping carts.
I chat with (not really, yes really) plants covered in a layer ice. Here’s a tip for you…if a plant is thriving at the nursery while covered in ice, it will survive in your garden. Check out this Brakelights Red Yucca that now lives in my backyard:) Yucca plants are water-wise, self-sufficient and provide an interesting design element. This is not your average yucca. It’s named “brakelights” for a reason. Its bloom season is long and the prolific red flowers will make you stop and take notice. And bonus: hummingbirds love it!
I’ve been buying proven Monrovia plants for years. In fact, it’s not a stretch to partially credit Monrovia with my gardening addiction. Years ago, as an inexperienced gardener with a hot, dry, square patch of Texas grass, Dallas nurseries lured me in with sidewalks filled with brilliant fuchsia azaleas. But the coral bark maples and red Chinese fringe flowers hooked me. Turns out, I’m more of a foliage kind of girl.
Since my husband and I recently moved from North Texas to Northwest Arkansas, we’ve been designing a new garden—a peaceful space that blends with the natural beauty of Northwest Arkansas. Our wish list includes not only places for gathering with friends, but quiet spots for reading and writing, and sunny corners for growing vegetables. When we step into our backyard, we want to be on vacation. We want the “ahhh” factor.
Our new yard is bigger than our last. More space means more possibilities, yet that can also be intimidating. One of the first things we did was develop a new design plan, working with The Grey Barn in Fayetteville. Monrovia plants are a key design component. Interesting foliage and bark patterns form the background for our new garden—the backdrop for what’s to come in spring and summer. During winter when perennials have died back and annuals have been tossed to the compost, foliage takes center stage providing year-round color. And no, a little winter weather doesn’t scare us. We began implementing our plan in January between snow storms.
Take a look at our design so far. This is the front yard.
Here’s a shot of the backyard including our fire pit and a few more soft touch hollies and laurels.
Here’s a more typical winter view. But see, if we didn’t have Monrovia evergreen scrubs poking through the snow, there’d be nothing to break up the blinding white…am I right?
Through the years, we’ve learned a few things by trial and error, by reading gardening books, by visiting arboretums and making note of things we love. We have favorite plants. Much like choosing paint color and arranging furniture inside the house, there’s a thought process to peaceful design. Gardening is much more than digging a hole and planting a shrub. Designing a relaxing space involves creating garden “rooms” with beds, creating movement with texture and materials, adding fun elements with found objects and personality specific items.
And yes, specimen plants like our new yucca create interest.
This morning sleet is falling (again) in Fayetteville and the ground is frozen solid. Our new yucca hasn’t been planted. I’m still considering the best location for him, a place where I can see him from the house. Possibly near the fire pit.
No matter the weather, no matter the season, I always find a way to garden even if only by dreaming on a winter day and planning where my new Monrovia yucca will live once the spring thaw arrives. And yes, that counts.
So what about you? Are you dreaming of spring?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
FYI everyone – Monrovia brand plants are available at local garden centers (Westwood Gardens in Fayetteville) and Lowe’s home centers across the country.