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Leaf Loss Reveals Views and Vistas

This article was first published on 27 Jun 2018.

View from Croque

View from Croque

Photo by the Otago Daily Times

Gardens can seem more alive in winter than at any other time of year. This may seem odd when most plants have hunkered down into dormancy, but in winter many show off their skeletal structures, seen best when observing the garden as a panorama.

One such panorama is the view looking north from the tea kiosk in the lower Dunedin Botanic Garden.  Ghostly white trunks of Betula utilis var. jacquemontii contrast against the tub plantings of Prunus serrula with their carpet of Libertia peregrinans. Outlines silhouette against the skyline, such as  Metasequoia glyptostroboides with its strong pyramid shape.  Behind it is the more rounded Taxodium distichum and in the far distance Sequoiadendron giganteum stands like a sentry at the Opoho Road entrance.

Views and vistas are not just the bastion of large gardens.  Great views can be achieved in smaller gardens; you just need to consider scale, balance and proportion and choose plants wisely. Select those that balance the size of your garden space but, equally importantly, the landscape space: the size of the space that the tree will eventually fill.  Make sure that the eventual size of the tree will allow the wider landscape “room to breathe”.

Wander through the botanic garden over winter for inspiration.  If you time the walk with the early sun not only will you see the structural elements but also the sunlight glistening off dewy branches, bringing alive the garden in a magical way.