This years 1st Snowflake

This afternoon I was sitting at my second favorite diner eating breakfast after a tough morning.

How tough a morning?

How about root canal tough, that’s tough. Anyway as I was gingerly eating my ham and cheese omelet and sipping coffee my attention wandered to the scene outside . . .

Snow . . . that’s right snow. It’s that time of year, the beginning of winter. White stuff, hidden landscapes, evergreens, and sitting by the fire reading catalogs kind of snow.

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines. -Henry David Thoreau



[ About 24″ or so on this falls, can you see the box? ]

Which got me to thinking about something else . . . opportunity, and more importantly opportunity lost. A season and a time that most Landscape Designers seem to forget. The season of snow.

Designers; do you think about snow? Do you plan for snow, and the opportunities for viewing that snow brings? The plants, trees, shrubs, and hardscapes that will come to the forefront with the coming of the snow.

snow chairs

[ Light, shadow, tracery, outline, contrast, beauty. ]

New Views, New Opportunity

Opportunity is there, take advantage of snow, plan for snow, embrace snow.

A garden and landscape do not die with the onset of winter. A landscape evolves, it changes, it adapts it becomes a completely different kind of wonder.

Design for this change of season, remember the prime views from inside looking out. The views that come about because of the short walks from here to there. Remember contrast and outline.

Remember the sun as it shines through the naked branches of the trees, and the patterns on the snow, the shadows, the reflection.

Take advantage of water and the stark difference of moving water in the stillness of the snowy landscape.

LCN pond1 in winter

[ A very powerful contrast in the winter landscape. ]

So many opportunities in a season that so many neglect or throw away in the design process.

“Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.” -Jeff Valdez

Embrace the winter, embrace the snow.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

1 comment

  1. I love your observations, Rick, on snow and designing for it…you´ve a keen eye, and a sharper mind…I proposed something similar…but with rain in mind instead of snow…the former where I live ( I´m Irish but “escaped” a long time ago to Spain) is scarce…the latter almost an unknown element. The proposal wasn’t selected, but basically it was a series of huge pieces of highly polished black granite with shallow circular saucer-like depressions or “basins” polished out… “waiting” for rain to fill them, somehow therefore closing the cycle. As each basin slowly filled, and came to overflow its brim, a trickle of rainwater would serpentine its way over and enter another basin at a slightly lower level…a provisional title was something like “the crying stone”. Then the rain would stop….the pools of black would remain ..and slowly disappear..
    Technically, the more polished the granite the easier it would be leave intact the surface tension of the water, thus creating…albeit at an almost microscopic level…. those “walls” on the side of water when we see it on any super-polished surface.
    Ok….congratulations on your work…I´ll drop by soon again.

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