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THE NORTHEAST WINTER is long for us gardeners, hit with snowstorm after snowstorm when all we want to do is get out there and dig.

“The books” advise a season of assessment and planning (preferably with a hot toddy by the fire). It’s true, I realized last weekend up in New York’s Hudson Valley, on a property I know very well from gardening myself there in years past, it’s easy to see the big picture when there’s not all that green stuff in the way.

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Above, the twisted canes of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, a plant that’s all about winter interest.

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Fallen needles under the gigantic white pine count as brilliant color this time of year.

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Plumes of zebra grass stand tall (most of them) ’til their early-spring cutback.

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Hydrangea and yucca along the privet-lined driveway, above.

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The little yellow outhouse, above, by the 3-season stream, below, was built in the 1930s when the house was really rustic.

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Above: Ain’t much to look at in mid-winter, but this area pops with crocus and other early bulbs in April. Burlap coats protect boxwoods from windburn.

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A section of stone wall, probably 19th century, from a time when these woods were grazing land. Such stacked stone walls lace through woods all over the Northeast, revealed in winter even as you drive along the Taconic State Parkway.

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The remains of last season’s ornamental grasses line a steep path to the fenced vegetable garden. I’m reminded of what garden designer Piet Oudolf said: “Brown is a color.”

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Tag-sale Buddha presides over a stone outcropping planted with small Japanese maples and other dwarf species.

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The mysterious concrete rectangle that came with the property, above, perhaps the floor of a greenhouse or other farm building, now filled with gravel and known as the Zen litter box.

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To see this same property in summer, go here.