It’s January in my Wake County garden and some of  my favorite things  are dead–

My husband Bill's giant banana tree collapses into the Nandina bushes

Not dead, dead.  The roots are alive.  But the bleached  stalks of the grasses, the tepee of banana  leaves, the papery beech tree are joys to behold this time of year. 

My dead things break up the grey woods, and serve as a nice contrast to the many evergreens that are the mainstay of the winter garden.  

American Beech is a star this time of year

Evergreens are dark.  They enclose.  Some, like the magnolia trees even seem heavy. 

Dead things are just the opposite.  Airy, they wave in the wind.  They’re bleached by the sun.  And if they happen to be backlit, they can actually glow. 

Looking a little beat up, but I still love these dried grasses--

Subtle?  Yes.  But subtle can be good.   I enjoy having two very different gardens–One, bright, bold, full of big flowers and foliage in Summer and Fall.    The other,  calmer, more reflective, built on texture and contrast. 

Gardening in the South, gives me these two gardens, all on the same piece of land. 

So as I go out to clean up the beds after our cold, cold December.  I won’t clean up everything.      I’ll save my favorite dead things for a few more months, and think about maybe adding some more.

Any ideas?  What  not-green things are beautiful in your gardens right now? Please share —