A Little Magic in the Sky: My December Balcony Garden

Winter Garden in the Sky

Every summer I enjoy keeping a container garden on our high-rise balcony and I love it all summer long, but I find beauty in my little balcony garden in every season, including winter.

Rather than clearing out all my potted plants in late autumn, I purposely leave all of my plants to naturally dry and I allow winter to engulf them. Winters are cold here in Calgary, so nothing potted survives it except my two potted trees. I love the way the dried grasses and flowers frost up and the way they create beautiful shapes and organic sculptures as piles of snow cap the leaves and branches. I think the bare bones of my little trees look so beautiful too.

This year, I hung a few Christmas baubles on my little trees, and I have to say we are enjoying them immensely. I especially love when the first rays of morning light catch the hanging balls and they sparkle and glisten as they herald in the new day. And I love the way the snow gives them all white winter hats, and the way the wind gently sways them in the breeze. And in the evening, I love how the last long golden rays of light gild the entire garden and magically illuminate the glass balls, creating an almost other-worldly beauty. It’s just a simple thing, some glass balls hanging on the bare branches of two little trees way up in the sky, but it makes me so happy.

I keep a few whimsical garden ornaments on my balcony. I love them all, but perhaps my favourite is Happy Frog. Happy Frog always makes me laugh when the snow gathers on his head. He never seems to mind it, always maintaining his happy countenance.



One of my potted trees is a dogwood. It has amazing bark—in spring it is a vibrant lime-green colour, but by autumn it transforms into a rich, earthy, red colour. And when the snow comes, it offsets this gorgeous colour even more.

DSC_3523AEdTwo whimsical crow ornaments, knee deep in snow.


Morning light on a frosted dried flower stem.


The winter days are short and the sun is at its lowest in December—this makes for some spectacular lighting as the last rays of the sun coat the world in a honeyed golden light, making long and wonderfully dramatic shadows and magnificent silhouettes—it sends me running for my camera and I get lost in photographing illuminated golden orbs. Pure magic.

Magic is in the eye of the beholder. It’s all around us—you just have to remember to stop and look for it.


Early evening light descends upon the garden as soft snowflakes begin to fall.

I love December: the beautiful music, the sparkling white snow and all the twinkling Christmas lights that fill the city bring so much magic and joy to what would otherwise be the darkest month of the year. In our home, December is a festival of light and magic.


Image Credits:

All photography by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2015 madlyinlovewithlife


19 thoughts on “A Little Magic in the Sky: My December Balcony Garden

  1. Hi, Jeannie. What a beautiful post! Your photos are, as always, stunning. And I have to say I just love your little frog. His snowy topping made me smile. So cute! Here’s wishing you and your partner a very Merry Christmas! :-)

  2. We, my dear, …are definite friends! I love frogs and have them scattered everywhere. I have more at the Lake House in Pennsylvania then I do here. Your little Happy Frog… stole my heart immediately. His snow cap makes him quite jolly! A giggle was had when I saw the little guy!
    I love how you write and your pictures match your words so perfectly! I always have such a nice visit when I come over. Thank you for the view of your beautiful winter garden.
    Happy Sunday to you and yours.

  3. Your balcony,winter garden is just exquisite & love all the photographs .
    Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful new week leading to Christmas.

  4. Oh how magical indeed! I’ve always loved your stunning images, but there’s something even more special about these (is that even possible? :)). Your images leave me with hope and and excitement for each day. Wishing you and yours a very happy and blessed holiday season! :)))

    PS: sorry, my “like” button is not functioning well today. Technology! Argh!

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