Published on January 1st, 2015 | by Janet Kurasz


A Time Of Change

By Janet Kurasz
Hort, AMCT(A)

Janet KuraszWinter brings about the most significant change to our landscape. Our properties are transformed from the brilliant colours of fall to the simplicity of white snow. There is a transparency that allows us to see the skeletons of the trees and shrubs that were hidden beneath their cover of leaves. Twisting and winding branches pointing upward, outward and downward project a different image allowing the imagination to fill in the blanks.

Winter is a good time to review your garden photos, read up on new varieties and make notes about what you like in your garden and what you would like to change. Use a critical eye, but be open to what is arguably the best part of gardening – the unexpected vignettes throughout the garden. They are usually made up of a grouping of plants. One of my favourite combinations started with a White Wings Peony, a donated fall Monkshood and an Anthony Waterer Spirea. These plants were originally placed together temporarily until the new garden was ready but the result was so attractive I left them in place forming the foundation for that section of the garden.

Life is about change, and I believe embracing change and adapting is key to leading a full life. We can welcome change in our landscapes too. After all, gardens are made up of living things – many individual plants placed together. Gardeners know not all combinations will be successful. Growing conditions, insects and changes in the environment will affect each plant differently. Some will adapt and thrive, while others will decline. This is part of the life cycle of gardens and we need to embrace this for what it is: an opportunity to renew. Adding and changing aspects of the garden will keep it fresh and interesting.


If your gardens are older you may find that your tastes have changed, because you have changed. So often we overlook the exterior of our homes and property, thinking we can’t change the exterior cladding/facade, or the footprint when in fact, adding a pergola, a covered porch or changing the trim colours can alter the look of the home dramatically, setting the stage for a garden re-do. Winter is a great time to contact a garden designer or your local garden centre plant expert for help with your landscape. Building on the “bones” of the garden and taking inspiration from your new ideas can go a long way to revitalizing your landscape.

Janet Kurasz,

About the Author

Janet Kurasz

Interpretive Horticulturist. A lifelong gardener and student of nature, Janet returned to school in 1997 aspiring to become a professional gardener. After completing her studies in Horticulture at the University of Guelph, Janet founded the Garden Decorator (2000 – 2009), a Horticultural company providing garden maintenance, landscape design and consultation services throughout Southern Georgian Bay. She developed a diverse clientele which included the Scenic Caves Nature Adventures, the Municipality of Meaford and the Town of Blue Mountains, along with a number of notable private gardens in Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, Thornbury, Clarksburg, Lora Bay and Meaford. Janet is now focused on design and consultation, offering her services in Brant and Norfolk Counties. Always learning, Janet continues to take courses in horticulture and studies naturalized environments. Her years of experience gardening in some of the toughest areas in South-Western Ontario, has taught her how to combine ornamentals and native plant material to ensure diversity and greater success. She refers to this style of gardening as the “Georgian Bay Style”. One of the original contributing writers to Women with VisionTM, Janet offers motivational talks on following your dreams, entrepreneurship, and gardening therapy.

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