A Snow-Cloaked Garden Tour

December 16, 2013

MY GARDEN is a winter wonderland just now, thanks to the good amount of snow (nearly a foot!) that fell in New York’s Hudson Valley over the weekend.  Pictured up top is the Rose Garden, as viewed from my guest-room window on Sunday morning. Grab your coat and a pair of knee-high boots, and join me outside for a frosty garden tour. Afterwards we can sit in the parlor, and enjoy a little drinky-poo:

We are in the Rose Garden now, standing before a fountain. A fountain which, at the moment, recalls a 7-foot-tall wedding cake.

The boxwood that surrounds the roses is well-frosted, too. Fortunately it’s a cold-hardy variety called ‘Winter Gem.’

The path leading up to the grove of white pines is completely obscured. So please watch your step.


Oh dear. I was afraid you might fall.

I don’t mean to scold you, but when I said “knee-high boots,” I did not mean the rock-star kind with 4-inch heels. You’re attending a December garden tour — not a Lady Gaga concert.

But since you’re laying flat on your back, why not make a snow-angel?  Just move your arms up and down.

We are looking through a cut-out in the white pines now, with a view of the headless Venus de Milo beyond.

The tall arborvitae that screens the swimming pool is teeming with life in winter. Dozens — if not hundreds — of tiny birds seek shelter in the evergreen boughs.

If you think you’re cold, just imagine how this scantily-clad Venus must feel. Brrr!

And here we are, standing before the gate of the Kitchen Garden. If you look carefully, you can just make out the raised beds.

Opposite the Kitchen Garden is the Pool Garden. We’re looking at the cement Satyr, now dressed to kill in a stylish white hat. Behind him is a hedge of snow-draped Canadian hemlock.

Shall we head into the Woodland Garden?

I’ll admit that its countenance is infinitely nicer in spring.

Nearly all of the Woodland perennials (including the azalea pictured above) are buried up to their heads.

Meanwhile, the picnic table certainly looks inviting.

If you’re a polar bear.

The Hudson River tributary that runs behind the Woodland is mostly frozen…

But the fish pond is lovely and liquid, because I equipped it with a small heating device. The goldfish and Koi who reside in the pond tend to linger near the heater. And who can blame them?

We are standing between the Pool and Kitchen Gardens now, with a view of the Herb Garden and the house. It’s a house with many roof-tops.

Normally we’d make our descent to the house via the steps of the Serpentine Garden. But today, because the cold has made us feel giddy, and because you’re already covered with snow due to your earlier fall, I think we should cast caution to the wind, and slide down the hill.


Don’t pretend that wasn’t fun.

Now take a seat in the parlor, and warm yourself before the fire…

While I pour French brandy into a pair of snifters.

As we sit and sip, perhaps you can tell me if the sight of freshly-fallen snow appeals to you. Personally, I love it. Especially at Christmas time.

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Related Posts:
Figgy Pudding
Dreamy Cinnamon Rolls
A Mid-April Garden Tour


  1. Cynthia Beaton says:

    It always takes me a few weeks to get my bravado when it comes to driving in white out’s and squalls. I prefer to sit by the woodstove and watch the Birds and Stream. 1/2 way thru “Christmas in Connecticut” (think I know where its going). Still have wrapping to do and my Christmas Granola to make. Figgy Pudding….maybe…….Figs , Honey, Lemmon and Vodka, yep. Best of the Season to you and yours!

  2. Andie says:

    I am envious of your Winter gems. I planted almost a thousand Green Mountains. Had no idea they turned bronze in the Winter. I’m sure I will get past this. I’m not quite ready yet.

    In the meantime, I tremendously enjoyed this tour! It’s as if the sky itself loved your garden so much that it decided to settle in on it.

    My husband hid my flip flops for the Winter so I am forced to wear sensible boots in the snow. *sigh*



  3. Annie B says:

    A wonderful walk in beautiful snow. We earned our brandy!

  4. Marjean says:

    I always find freshly fallen snow to be magical beyond belief. The most romantic evening of my entire life happened on a Christmas Eve when I walked with my then boyfriend through softly falling snow along streets completely bare of cars to our local library that had a wonderful hill for sledding. We were the only people about as the storm had already deposited about 6″ of the white stuff on our area and, being Christmas Eve in the 60′s, few wanted – or needed – to brave the storm in an automobile. We made snow angels, sledded down that hill countless times, laughed and held hands on the way back to my house. Every time it snows at night now, wherever I live, I’ll go outside and stand in it, feel those cold flakes kiss my cheeks and let those memories wash over me.

    Thanks for the beautiful photos of your magical place, Kevin. I miss living back East and you always bring back wonderful memories with your photo essays.

  5. Louise Brouillette says:

    Kevin, how did your dinner party go on Saturday? Did all your guests make it safely? What was on the menu? Details, please!

    And thanks for the wonderful tour of your winter garden. As always, we your loyal fans, enjoy viewing your beautiful home and gardens.

  6. badger gardener says:

    How beautiful! I love the snow. We went to a snow tubing hill over the weekend to enjoy our fresh snow fall although technically it is a “kettle” left behind by retreating glaciers. I miss the hills back east where we could sled ride in our own backyard. However, I don’t miss driving up and down those hills in snowy weather. Our flatlands make venturing out a bit easier. Hoping all the snow sticks around for Christmas (we have one day in the forecast this week above freezing w/ potential rain, yuck).

    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

  7. Tammy says:

    Every time I see winter shots of your garden I’m reminded what a wonderful job you’ve done designing not just for summer appeal, but also winter interest. I have so much to learn yet! I’m gonna need some more brandy…

  8. MEGAN BLACK says:

    thanks, kevin. even here in no. calif. we have had a good snowfall. i love it. my sons now live in ithaca and philly so they are getting a chance for a new slant on winter.

  9. Jacynta says:

    Hi Kevin, I have been following your site for about a year now and I love seeing your house and garden updates and particularly your recipes. What a contrast your garden is to ours at this time of year! I live on a cattle station in the north of Australia and we are currently in our “wet season”. It is around 40 degrees celsius (104 fahrenheit) most days as we wait for the storms and the rain to arrive.
    Keep up the good work and Merry Christmas!

  10. Nancy Jalaty says:

    Kevin, your yard looks lovely. It was 85 here yesterday in San Diego and our roses are blooming! Cheers!

  11. badger gardener says:

    WooHoo! On vacation until the new year so finally having that brandy w/ you although in the form of a Brandy Old Fashioned. I know it’s early, but dinner is in the oven, we have a freezing rain/sleet parfait going on outside, and I have nothing to do but peruse your recipes to decide on a dish to take to the in-laws Christmas eve potluck.

    Happy Winter Solstice!!

  12. Erin says:

    I say it every time… I sure do love your garden tours. You take me there in my mind with your photos and words.

  13. Addie B in FL says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Kevin! I hope you realize that you live in heaven :-) )

    Thank you for the magical (and very amusing!) garden tour.

  14. Wendy says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful tour of your garden. I love seeing snow and always enjoy your garden no matter when. . Thank you so much for taking us Kevin. Have a fab Christmas and a Happy 2014.

  15. Donna Cota says:

    Thank you so much for the lovely tour, I enjoyed myself more than I can say! Wishing you and yours a joyous Holiday and a very peaceful New Year.

  16. Jackie Russell says:

    Thanks for the tour, the Garden still looking wonderful. Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to you all

  17. Addie B in FL says:

    P.S. We’re breaking weather records here in FL today – it’s supposed to get up to 85 degrees and doesn’t feel much like Christmas, so your snowy garden was especially evocative for me of winters growing up in NY state.

  18. Marcia says:

    Thanks for the wonderful tour. I always thought snow was a 4 letter word, but you made it fun. Marveling at how many different patterns God had to use to get that much snow. We will try your figgy pudding soon.

    Do you ever get lost in that house?

    Tomorrow the days begin to get longer! Yeah!

  19. Sarah says:

    I thnk a jaunty red scarf on the satyr would add a lot. Thanks Kevin, and Merry, Merry, Merry!

  20. I think it says something about your gardens that they look so lovely even in the midst of winter! Although part of it, of course, is your charming tour guiding and photography, bringing out the best. Thanks for the brandy and the warm file — it was very restorative after al that walking through the snow. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. (And thanks to your previous posting about Christmas in Connecticut — which made me realize that *my* copy is in VHS form and my latest DVD player doesn’t include a tape player — I was able to check the TV listings and found it coming up in just a day or two, so captured it on my DVR. Many thanks!)

  21. Paula says:

    Thank you so much for the tour Kevin! It was wonderful, and worth the fall, making the snow angel and sliding down the hill. It took only a short time to dry out by the fire in your beautiful fireplace! I do hope there will be a next time – without the fall, of course! May your holidays be blessed and joyous, the best yet; the same for your partner, Lily the beagle and all your readers too! Till next time…

  22. joan lee says:

    Can you not give the Venus de Milo a cape to wear just for the season?

    I love your site and your garden is just beautiful.
    I live in Upstate New York also and the birds here just make me dizzy!

    and I have two handsome deer juveniles who look like twinnies and an elderly lady deer who kept me company last week when my neighbors on either side were of to the Dakotas
    and Montanas. She made a nest under a fir tree and ate of the down-hanging spires.

    Merry Christmas and keep that Eggnog hot!

  23. Vicki says:

    Holiday wishes to you and your family.

  24. Robin says:

    Thank you Kevin for my Sunday morning stroll! I so enjoy your Sunday musings & hearing about what’s happening in your world. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year

  25. Paula Wolff says:

    Thank you for the winter tour, Kevin. It’s just as pretty (but less colorful) than your summer garden tour. But I’m glad to have taken the summer tour in person, and the winter tour via email (much warmer). Merry Christmas to all of you!

  26. Barbara Zakrzewski says:

    I enjoyed the tour through your winter snow garden very much. We don’t get much snow here in the Atlanta area, but I do love to sit and watch it snow when we do. Years ago, I lived in Colorado for about a year, and I loved the great snowfalls we had out there. Everything always seemed so quiet and serene when there were several feet of snow on the ground.

    I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  27. Alyce says:

    Love the pictures, but enjoying our 57 degrees too. Question; doesn’t the accumulated frozen water in the fountain crack the bowls?

  28. Pam says:

    Thank you for sharing!! Very pretty, for about a day! Having a record high here in Florida; it’s 80 already!

  29. Molly says:

    Loved the tour. Lots of laughs along with all that beauty,
    Have fun with Santa, wishing you a happy days and superb gardening weather in the New Year.

  30. Hi Alyce – The water in the (2) fountains freezes and thaws multiple times over winter. But in 9 years, the bowls have never cracked. Even more surprising is that the fountain-pumps — which I no longer remove for winter — continue to function in spring!

  31. Donna Allenbaugh says:

    Happy Holidays to you and yours, Kevin. I love your tours, even with the slippery snow, and the fire and drinks are divine.

  32. Suzann Green says:

    Love your pictures. I did follow u with a shot glass of modified pucker. Have been reading your blog since last summer. Winter hit us last week with 5″ of snow, now with 3 days of rain. I live 62 miles from Detroit , MI. Ordered seeds this morning hope to do the milk jug planting soon. Thank u for your website that helps me very much.

  33. Mary Ellen Hern says:

    Thank you for your holiday tour, and Merry Christmas to your household. I appreciate you sharing your home and kitchen and gardens with me–it is a special delight to find a post from you–and the happiest new year to come!

  34. Mercy says:

    Dearest Kevin & Partner & Lily & Tiger & Camille (Have I left anyone out?)–

    Thank you so much for your lovely newsletter.I read the whole thing and am a convert to many recipes and implements–for instance, I LOVE the Pullman pan for making the bread for French toast! I really enjoy your tours and recipes and especially your wit! Wishing you and yours the best possible holiday season!

  35. Joan says:

    Always enjoy the tours; it does look magical with all that snow. Next time I go out in my yard to walk thru the snow, believe I’ll carry a flask of brandy to fortify myself. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Cecile says:

    that blue bottle in the parlor is intruiging me ;)

  37. Roberta says:

    Thank you so very much Kevin!
    That was delightful right here in front of my laptop.
    Happy Holidays to you!
    You create magic, and we are delighted that you share it with us…

  38. Lee says:

    Thank you, as always, for sharing the garden tour and the brandy was the right touch.
    Merry Christmas to you all. Fondly, Lee

  39. cynthia shultz says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Your garden is beautiful! I particularly liked the ride to the house.

  40. Casey Cavasher says:

    How beautiful the setting of your house is in winter — especially when donning none other than comfy clothes is required. Thanks for all the great recipes, photo how-tos, and other great, humorous chats you’ve provided us readers with during the past 12 months. Your partner is a lucky guy to have you in his life…and, I suspect, vice versa. A very Merry Christmas to you and the happiest possible 2014!

  41. Joan says:

    Kevin, thanks for all of your wonderful postings, i.e. recipes, tours and certainly pictures of Lilly and Camile etc. As a lover of animals I tend to always look for them when you post. Here in Ontario (Canada) there is snow everywhere and I do try and enjoy it? Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and Happy 2014.

  42. Anne Callaway says:

    I so enjoy your website over and over again. None of your recipes disappoint. Just wanted to share that I have made your version of Jim Lahey’s no Knead Bread many, many times and it is wonderful every time! The chewy goodness of artisan bread at its finest. And our friends also love it for dipping into good olive oil and spices-herbs. IT is also great for sandwiches of all kinds, summer and winter! All summer I toasted it and topped it with roasted tomatoes, fresh basil , sea salt, coarse pepper, and good olive oil.Thanks for all your sharing. YOu made the tea kettle look so winsome I had to go and buy one since I didn’t win it! Wishing you all the best in your magical snowy kingdom! We don’t get much here in MS, so enjoy for us!

  43. Jerry in sealy says:

    Kevin, thank you so much for the tour, with muck boots I still slipped, a bit icy in the woods! The fire is warming and the room comfy. Have a blessed Christmas!

  44. Ruth says:

    Kevin, this garden tour is my most favorite, and considering that I would NEVER live any closer to snow than Dallas (I am in Houston, and my grandkids and new great grandchild are in Dallas) that is saying a lot! Lovely photos, amusing commentary, as always. If I could live in your garden shed, maybe I would consider moving north! I too had to go buy an electric kettle after your contest! Thank you for sharing your wonderful life with us.
    Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas to all y’all and enjoy a wonderful New Year.

  45. Anne says:

    I love your writing. You always put a smile on my face even when everything around me is hectic and chaotic. You have a beautiful home. You are a great teacher.

  46. Emilie Unkrich says:

    Another angel is about to get their wings.
    Merry Christmas to you, as well.

  47. Josane says:

    I just love reading your blog…thanks. I really enjoyed the snowy garden tour. Sliding down the hill was thrilling…
    Merry Christmas to you and yours…

  48. Phillis says:

    Kevin, Happy Holidays from Virginia—-I enjoyed the snowy tour of your home and reading your newsletter is always a treat. Happy New Year!!!

  49. Good holidays and a wonderful new year… to my favorite blogger and fam…You are an inspiration and my favorite Sunday read.

  50. Sandy Martinez says:

    Merry Christmas! And blessings to you and your loves for a very happy new year!
    I am breaking from making a giant pot of Caldo de res to have glass of wine with you!
    I loved the tour, thank you for sharing.
    Tomorrow is lentils with ham and seed catalog shopping.
    Love, Sandy

  51. Georgette says:

    You certainly are a remarkable person and I enjoy your witty, kind, informative and inspirational website. Happy Holidays to you and yours and may next year’s writings (and pictures) be as wonderful as this years was!!

  52. Oriane says:

    Bonjour Kevin,

    This is like receiving beautiful Christmas cards. Loved sliding down the hill with you :)

    Wishing you, Will, Lily, Camille, Tiger and all your loved ones, all that is good.

    Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!

  53. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    My arborvitaes also shelter innumerable birds, a charming source of entertainment in the snow clad landscape.You are a wonderful garden mentor!
    Thanks for the beautiful tour.

  54. Adele says:

    Thank you for sharing the snow. Your garden s very picturesque. Our Christmas season is cool and sunny here in California. From my casa to your casa Feliz Navidad.

  55. Mary Alice says:

    When my kids were young, we would go on a winter picnic at least once in the winter. Just dress warmly, brush off the snowey table and benches, and eat the hot soup or stew and hot chocolate that we brought along. Your garden looks very inviting for a picnic!

  56. Lori says:

    The snow is lovely when I am ensconced in my living room with my wingback chair and crochet work in hand. I’m not so fond of it when I’m out and about. Driving in this muck makes me a nervous wreck.

    But *your* snow looks heavenly. I feel sorry for poor Venus though.

  57. Jennifer says:

    What a lovely yard… and loved your description of our tour. But, where’s the picture of my snow angel? ;)
    Merry Christmas… and i hope an angel gets it’s wings!

  58. CONNIE says:

    Hope ya’ll have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

  59. Elfrieda says:

    Have a wonderfully Merry Christmas. Enjoyed looking at your snow photos, then headed out to my patio with a glass of wine and 85 degree weather!!

  60. Janet G. Metzger says:


    Merry Christmas!

    Happy New Year!

    And thank you for the photos of a winter wonderland!

  61. Linda Miles says:

    What a perfect holiday tour of your garden. I love to read your newsletters and I am in awe of your magic touch with gardening and food.

  62. maris says:

    Wow! So pretty! Merry Christmas! Thank you for your super cool blog!

  63. Deborah L. Marshall says:

    Living in South Florida we never get to experience these scenes. You find beauty in everything. Truly inspiring.

  64. Naomi Shelton says:

    The snow-covered gardens are beautiful, but you should see all the trees and shrubs where I am in Michigan. We had freezing rain several days ago which coated everything with a layer of ice which looks like glass. Then we had a snow-storm which capped the “glass” with a layer of “meringue”. It is absolutely exquisite. And the temperatures have remained so cold that it has lasted for at least four or five days–longer than I’ve ever seen ice stay on trees and shrubs. Of course, the down-side is that the weight of the ice and snow has broken many tree branches and even toppled some trees. But the fairyland loveliness is still to be appreciated.

    Hope your Christmas was wonderful, Kevin! Thanks so much for your web-site and all the great information and ideas and photographs.

  65. vincent says:

    Kevin, was wondering where you live in the Hudson Valley. I live in Cortlandt Manor so Im thinking our weather is the same. Going to try your winter sowinf this year for my gardens. Thans for the info.

    Do you have any issues with dear on your property?

  66. Diane says:

    Hi Kevin,

    I live in Austin, Texas where we almost never have snow. This is my first time to comment but I wanted to let you know that I love A Garden For a House. I’ve been a restaurant critic, taught cooking classes and have written a cookbook. I also enjoy gardening, although the climate in Central Texas is very different than in New York. I think your blog is so well done. Sometimes I try the recipes, but mostly I just enjoy reading the newsletter/blog and looking at the photos. Thank you for many cheerful moments I’ve had visiting your site.

  67. Susan says:

    Love love love the snow! My opinion is that if has to be cold it might as well be white! Not too many people agree with me…..

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