Garden Photo of the Day

Carla’s January Gardening

There are projects any time of the year

garden during a snow storm

Carla Z Mudry is sharing her garden with us today.

I know it sounds crazy, but you actually can garden in January!

mulched garden bed in winterI have this giant Japanese maple we inherited with the property in the front. I love Japanese maples, perhaps a little too much, and I go out of my way to take care of this one. She gets regular pruning and more. When this Japanese maple is fully leafed out, she casts shade and dappled light over the entire area where she is located. And that leads to grass being harder to grow. It is also an area of the garden that can get quite dry, so I have been looking at it with fresh eyes. I decided the tree would be better off with wood chips and mulch. So last week that was a garden project!

I am not going to underplant the tree with more shrubs. What I am going to do is place more bulbs. I have this idea in my head of how I want this space to look, and I am going to start with species daffodils. I think they will look terrific, and they will spread. They’re not giant traditional daffodils that you think of as cut flowers, even if they’re a little more wild.

pines trees in a bare winter gardenWhen you walk around your garden in the winter, it has its own life. It’s more angular. It’s more structural, but there is still this winter garden. And the ultimate beauty of the winter garden is that it can show you where you might want to go in the spring. I use the winter garden for thinking about things I want to rework or transplant or trim.

garden during a snow stormWinter in the garden is also the imagining season. Some people can’t do that. I can. And I envision what an area could look like. And then I plan. Remember that a garden isn’t static; it evolves.

bare trees in winterBare branches are their own kind of beauty, living sculptures in the winter landscape.

carved tree sculpture of various woodland animalsA chainsaw sculpture made from the stump of a dead tree now graces the garden.

close up of dried seed headsSeed heads provide food for wildlife and beauty for gardeners during winter.

garden arch covered in a dried vineThe structure of the garden is more visible in winter with most of the leaves gone.

bare garden plant in the sunThe winter sun at a low angle glows on bare garden branches.


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View Comments


  1. barbmrgich 02/03/2023

    Carla, What a great post! It shows lots of creativity and ingenuity. I enjoyed it very much. I've never seen a chainsaw sculpture like yours. I love it! Is the little owl in the first picture the top of the sculpture?

  2. gardendevas 02/03/2023

    Thanks, Carla! Couldn’t agree with you more that winter offers us subtle beauty. And it’s when I do most of my future planning as well.

  3. blondie3 02/03/2023

    Wow, that sculpture is beautiful. The last couple years I have been taking a walkabout in my garden during winter. It helps me also to plan and dream. Thank you for sharing your sculpture…so amazing

  4. User avater
    bdowen 02/03/2023

    Yes, there still is a garden out there even if it's cold and the leaves are on the ground, not in the trees. I enjoyed this tour of your winter garden and agree that it's a good time to be evaluating and dreaming. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. gardenconcierge 02/03/2023

    Dear Carla,

    I love how you describe winter as the "imagining season". I too, use winter to look and think about improvements for the coming spring/summer/fall season. But calling it the imagining season is positively poetic. Enjoy your garden and thanks for sharing it.

  6. User avater
    simplesue 02/03/2023

    I like what you wrote; "Remember that a garden isn’t static; it evolves." and I really like your garden!
    I shared the stump carving with my neighbor in an email!
    I like that metal arch with the wind chime bells hanging on it, like a gateway into the woods.
    And it doesn't sound at all crazy to me, to garden in January or February LOL!

  7. btucker9675 02/03/2023

    Wonderful! And that stump carving is amazing.

  8. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/03/2023

    Your post & pics are like a lesson. Love it!

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