Last year Carolyn Gail over at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago whipped up a plan for my front garden that I wanted to redesign but had no idea what ought to go there. If you don't remember, the only thing in those beds were big overgrown Yews and Junipers, which I hated. I had them all yanked out and vowed to never plant another evergreen in the front of my house - it was my attempt to assert my individuality over my neighbors who only seem to have evergreens in their front gardens.
So, I was bummed to see that Carolyn had included an evergreen in the plan she did for me. I argued back and forth with her over why I needed the evergreen considering that I sort of hate them and she just kept saying "you need it for the winter interest." Well, I'm stubborn and a know-it-all so I decided that I knew more about this than Carolyn (a professional landscape designer) and did not plant any evergreens. I had decided that the evergreen would simply take up space where another better, prettier shrub could be planted, and, after all, during winter we gardeners are simple waiting it out, right? Well, now I get it! When I removed the established evergreens I immediately hated the front of my house more than ever. Quite frankly, it looked like a mobile home to me. Well guess what? That's what it has looked like all winter.
We've had a lot of snow in Chicago this winter and for months I've been driving by all the houses with the big evergreens I once scoffed at, now envious that their house doesn't look like a mobile home and mine does. All of a sudden I am mesmerized by the way the heavy snow sits atop these evergreens totally changing the shape and looking all cool.
I'll probably be rethinking this whole "winter interest" thing this spring. The trouble is that now I've used up all my shrub space in the front garden so if I want some "winter interest" it will only be at the sacrifice of some other shrub that's already planted.
Lessons learned: listen to the experts, even if you do not understand or see their vision.