When there's little else to distract the eye (those pesky pretty flowers), you can more easily absorb the importance of space in a garden.
Sadly, this doesn't hold true for most areas of our garden - I have a tendency to poke too many plants in, and there are large herbaceous/shrub borders which aren't very structured. However, on a trip to Erdigg today, I had the chance to admire good use of space and structure. In the low winter light, highlighted by frost, space provides a range of uses: it gives the eye a chance to rest; draws the eye to a view, and allows shadows to play their own dramatic role within the garden.
The low hedge below uses spaces to create a chequerboard effect, further accentuated by the frost.
The pleached trees look more dramatic with their tortured skeletons exposed.
Ordered spacing of the cones draws the eyes onwards, through the gap in the hedge, to more shaped repetitions.
Spaces between the evergreens allow the low sun to cast shadows which separate each fruit tree by a frosted grassy finger.
More mundanely, spaces between branches and fruiting spurs on this 'Pitmaston Pine Apple' apple tree allow fruit to mature and air to circulate.
Not many of us have this much space, but the visit today has made me think about how I can make better use of space to allow the eye to rest within my own garden. A sunny winter's day is also a great opportunity to see how I can better use shadows as ephemeral art.