The Winter Garden
With some creative planting our gardens can look beautiful and be enjoyed throughout the seasons, including winter. Evergreens give year round structure and colour and will provide shelter for wildlife during the colder months. Deciduous trees and shrubs look majestic during the winter when covered in frost or snow and seed heads can be left on some perennials to provide interest as well as food for hungry birds. Plant up a few containers and you can enjoy your garden from indoors as well as outside.
The garden in winter can be just as beautiful as it is in spring and summer, but just in a different way. As the winter progresses and early bulbs begin to appear we can feel the excitement and anticipation - spring is just around the corner and the whole garden is starting to very gradually wake up again.
Visiting gardens in winter can be a great source of ideas and inspiration for our own gardens. Several of the RHS gardens feature winter gardens and are well worth a visit. Closest to here is RHS Hyde Hall in Chelmsford, Essex. Their winter garden opened in 2018 celebrates seasonal change and was designed to show that gardens can look spectacular all year round. Further afield, but well worth visiting are RHS Wisley in Woking and RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate, both of which beautiful winter walk gardens to enjoy.
A selection of our favourite plants for winter interest include:
A Fragrant Shrub To Attract Pollinators And Garden Birds:
Add a Mahonia for an instant winter wow factor. This large evergreen shrub has an erect habit and produces the most stunning fragrant yellow flowers above rosettes or large dark green holly like leaves. The sweetly scented flowers provide a valuable source of nectar to pollinating insects in winter. Dark purple berries follow that will attract birds. Underplant with spring flowering bulbs and perennials and enjoy the display.
Above: Mahonia Charity
Colour From Winter Through To Spring:
Add an instant splash of colour with our potted spring bulbs. From the earliest snowdrops following on with crocus, narcissi and a range of colourful tulips to take us all the way through to spring. Just pop them in the ground and they will flower year after year.
Above: potted spring bulbs selections
Good For Shade:
Hellebores (lenten rose) are hardy and very long-lived perennials that flower in the winter and early spring. They form free-flowering evergreen clumps which are truly eye-catching when in flower. Position in full or partial shade in rich, limy soil that is not prone to waterlogging. Helelbores are ideally suited for use in pots and planters outside on patios, balconies, terraces and doorsteps.
Above: Helleore Spring Promise 'Sp Anja Oudolf'
Add Height With A Winter Flowering Climber:
Cover walls, fences a pergola or trellis with Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum). This easy to grow hardy Jasmine produces cheery, bright yellow flowers in winter and early spring that will brighten up any garden. Can be planted in sun or shade in fertile, well drained soil. RHS Award Of Garden Merit.