The Prairie Winterscape : Creative Gardening for the Forgotten Season is a book that I discovered when I was  researching information about winterscaping for the Front Yards in Bloom – Winterscapes project. The premise of the book is that gardens should be just as beautiful and interesting in winter as in summer.

Nora (one of the two authors) spoke at a past EHS Speaker Evening, so I thought I’d check this book out. I like that the authors recognize that a good garden is more than just colour. A mix of shapes, sizes, movement, sound, light, and shadow will create beauty even when all is covered with a blanket of snow, ice, or frost, waiting for discovery. Indeed, the beauty of shape and size is enhanced by the smoothing effect of the snow. The delicate beauty of hoarfrost on branches can take your breath away. Take time to enjoy the garden all year-round, not just in the summer!

The Prairie Winterscape provides excellent advice for setting the stage and preparing for winter. Of course it takes the summer to get ready for the winter beauty to shine. I like how the book provides a wide range of plant materials especially suited for viewing in winter (and summer!). Also, it is appropriate that this book focuses on the prairies in winter. There are lots of pictures of creative ideas for your garden.

So, as you look around your neighborhood for suitable front yards to nominate for Winterscapes, keep in mind the subtle winter beauty that is there for the viewing and check out this book.

The Prairie Winterscape: Creative Gardening for the Forgotten Season, by Barbara Kam and Nora Bryan. Published by Fifth House Ltd. 2003. It is available from booksellers, or there is a copy available in the EHS library that members can borrow.

Reviewed by Neil Lang, former EHS Front Yards in Bloom Coordinator.