Joyce Kuryla is owner of the garden art shop About Gardens and is also vice president of KGK Gardening & Design Corp., an exterior design-build corporation, which she began with her husband Ken Guy Kuryla. For more information visit or call 330-650-1014.

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Winterscape With Garden Art
by Joyce Kuryla       #Winter

Give yourself the gift of amazing outdoor art — something beautiful to gaze at from the window.

As a lifelong resident of the Midwest, I can attest to how brutal Mother Nature can be in the winter. White can be the predominant color from November all the way through March during particularly snowy winters. Waiting for the snow to thaw and the dreariness of winter to be replaced with flowering bulbs can try the patience of any hardcore Midwest gardener. With a little forethought and planning, creating a "winterscape" with the addition of a colorful piece of garden art can brighten up even the dullest gray February day.

This stainless steel monarch garden stake appears to be resting on a snow-covered Picea abies 'Pendula'.
The artist brings an abundance of color to life with the high temperature heat of a torch and a
skillful eye for beauty.
Photo: Joyce Kuryla

Decide On the Style of Art

Although wood trellises and boulder walls provide a beautifully natural framework in the winter garden, stainless steel, rusted metal, colorful glass or high fired ceramic art objects will provide an eye catching and contrasting focal point for your winterscape. Adding a favorite rusted metal flower or armillary finished in a verde patina allows your personal taste to shine through while your prized perennials are hibernating under the snow. Regional art shows, craft galleries and garden nurseries all offer a vast assortment of quality artisan pieces in a variety of price ranges.

Photo: Michelle Byrne Walsh

A rusted metal sunflower gate keeps a cheerful watch over the sleeping vegetable garden within. The burnt orange color of the gate creates an eye popping contrast with the newly fallen snow.
Photo: Joyce Kuryla

Buy Quality

Midwest winter storms can bring large amounts of snowfall and very windy conditions. Conscientious artisans who specialize in garden art create their products to endure these types of conditions. They truly want you to enjoy your garden art for many years to come. Look for heavy gauge metal products with thick sturdy stakes rather than flimsy tin knockoffs on thin bendable wire stakes. Birdhouses should be put together with nails and heavy duty screws rather than staples. Quality glass art should be able to withstand temperatures of -10 F if placed in a Midwest garden year round. Choosing quality elements that endure continual outdoor use rather than storing these treasures in a shed for four months will brighten the short days of winter and allow you to further appreciate the beauty of your winter garden.

Choose a Location

Situating your art close to a walkway or entrance that is frequently used during the winter will enhance the area for you and your guests. Or, consider placing your winterscape art where it can be viewed for your personal enjoyment. Seeing a chartreuse garden spire through your kitchen window while making a big pot of chicken soup or a stainless steel butterfly glisten in the sun while drinking your morning coffee will surely uplift your spirits, even if it is only 20 F outside.

Prepare the Site

As with any good garden design, a well-thought-out color palette as well as height, size and texture variations all matter in your winterscape. Spruce, pines and other evergreens all provide a wintery emerald contrast to bright garden objects made from rusted or stainless steel. A tall, colorful, high-fired ceramic sculpture standing in an open space where perennials have been cut back pops after a light dusting of snow. If you've chosen an object situated on a garden stake spend a few moments visualizing where snow will settle around the object. Do you want the focal point to be nestled within the accumulated snow or would you rather see the art float about the surrounding plants. Experiment by letting some of the more interesting flower heads and foliage surrounding your new art remain through the winter.


Remember the advantage and beauty of gardening in Zones 5 and 6 is that next year you can try it all again a completely different way.


Posted: 12/07/11   RSS | Print


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