Some people consider structure to be the walls, floor and ceiling of your garden. This is very true because if you relate garden structure to the structures of your home, the walls, ceiling and floor are the backbone and framework.
Just like in your home the structure can be made up of many different materials, so too in the garden. For example: walls in the home can be; painted drywall, textured stucco, brick, stone or paneling or any number of creative materials. In the garden, walls can be; a metal wall, tree trunks, lattice, a shrub border, fences, a greenhouse, flowers, stone walls, or any number of materials.
The first picture shows a linear deck rail with very linear and bare tree trunks in the distance. These are the "walls" of my garden. The branches, which so happily hold the snow, are the roof.
You really can't see the floor of my garden in the first picture, but if you look at the second picture you can clearly see the patio stepping stones in the corner of my sidewalk and driveway through the melting snow. One knows there is something there, even in the winter time (of course you might not see them if there was too much snow but you might still see the outline of the sidewalk garden just beyond the stones).
Gardeners in the north where winters can be harsh need to make maximum use of structure to tell them where the garden is and to frame the sleeping garden during the deepest, darkest part of winter.
Structure will not be as important to southern gardeners as color and texture will play a larger role since plant material in the south is likely to still be growing in the south.
On a personal note, I would like to say thank you to my friend Anonymous, her husband and their four children for hosting Jimmy and I all day yesterday. I never once looked at my watch and was stunned to find we spent about six hours at their lovely home when we finally departed last night. We both had a great time talking and Jimmy says he'd love to come again (me too)!
in the garden....