As winter approaches, garden foliage begins to retreat, often leaving the garden with a somewhat dull and bleak appearance. However, choosing the right plants and winter foliage can create a beautiful winter wonderland and add a splash of colour to an otherwise drab canvas.
Although there is no escaping a sparse winter lawn and other bare patches – the trick to a successful winter garden is to ensure it has pockets of interest, this can be achieved by introducing evergreen shrubs in blocks of varying colour, to form a winter tapestry which shelters the garden, and houses wildlife.
An obvious choice for winter plants – evergreens come in a wide array of colours, shapes and sizes and are useful for creating attractive foliage and borders. The beauty of evergreens is that they are extremely low maintenance and last throughout the cold season.
Wintergreen Gaultheria Procumbens
The large red berries and reddish leaves of this evergreen will add a naturally festive touch to any garden. Its foliage has dark green, glossy leaves and produces small white or pale pink flowers in summer time.
Clematis Cirrhosa Var. Balearica
A winter flowering plant which bears beautiful fragrant flowers, typically a cream colour with red/brown spots. This hardy plant can is able to resist frost, but thrives better in sheltered spots.
These compact evergreen shrubs are low maintenance and grow well in shady patches. They are characterised by attractive evergreen leaves with small white or yellow flowers, and look good all year round.
A native UK evergreen, Ivy looks splendid all year round, even during the bleak winter months. A highly successful climbing plant, it can be used to create beautiful decorative features with the cover of thick leaves it provides.
An extremely popular choice of foliage – there are numerous different types of the holly, all with subtle variations in colour and form. Holly plants are either male or female, for a holly plant to produce berries, both a male and female plant must present.
A type of evergreen resembling grass, Carex is a vast genus with over 2000 species, which can be found across the globe. It offers numerous hardy variations which will thrive in shady spots throughout the winter months, providing attractive foliage.
Also known as bugleweed, this fast growing evergreen plant covers excellent coverage for empty areas. It does not die back during the winter and adds colour and charm to the garden with its purple tinged leaves.
Winter Flowering Plants
Winter gardens are often synonymous with a lack of colour, although most flowering plants are dormant in December, there are a few which will bloom during the winter season, bringing some vibrant colour to the garden.
Winter-flowering heather are popular evergreens which bring a carpet of colour to the garden even during the darkest months.
Chaenomeles japonica, also known as Maule’s quince is a type of deciduous shrubs which typically blooms in late winter to early spring, bringing a welcome touch of colour to any winter garden.
Eranthis Hyemalis (Winter Aconite)
Native to UK and European woodlands, these plants typically flower during February producing a bright display of yellow colour.
Bringing bright colour during late winter, early spring when little else is flowering. This hardy species creates good ground cover and tolerates low temperatures well.
Clipping the foliage of shrubs and trees in order to maintain clearly defined shapes, these may vary from actual forms of recognisable shapes, or to simply create boundaries or screens. Popular topiary plants include Yew Shrubs, Holly Shrubs, Lavender and Monterey Cypress.
Planters, pots and other types of containers help to contain the growth of plants – this is particularly useful for species which may otherwise grow out of control and take over the garden. By using containers, plants are not only easily managed but can be readily changed and adapted to suit requirements. Oak barrel planters make excellent containers and are ideally suited to a wide assortment of plants, flowers, shrubs and small trees – creating the perfect container for a wide range of environments which can be adapted to suit all the seasons.
As a general rule, plants to do not grow well in winter – therefore, it is important to ensure that any plants purchased are already of the desired size. Avoid buying anything which appears sickly, has signs of rot, decay or dead leaves.
Ensure that any flowers are covered during prolonged frosts, to prevent damage.
Invest In Garden Structures
Statues, paths, walkways, arches, arbours and other buildings help to give the garden its shape and form. Other decorative features such as oak barrel planters, oak tubs and water features also help to bring character to a sometimes otherwise lifeless winter garden.
Winter can be a difficult time for wildlife – turning your garden into a wildlife sanctuary is a great way of showing support for wildlife, but also provides a wonderful opportunity to watch numerous creatures at close range. Water features, bird feeders, compost heaps and hedgehog houses are all great ways to attract wildlife to your garden.