Add some variety to your winter garden
Winter brings with it dark afternoons, chilly feet and bare branches – but it’s not all doom and gloom! Your garden can remain a haven even through the coldest months with some carefully selected plants and flowers that are hardy enough to withstand frost. In fact, many of the best winter plants aren’t particularly nice to look at during warmer months, so don’t despair – you could still be enjoying vibrant dark green leaves, stripy bark and bold berries right through until summer! Read on for my selection of the best garden plants for winter interest – many of these are easily picked up at garden centres, or grown in weather-resistant pots.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis)
This sunny bloom isn’t just the staple of teen skin treatments! Witch hazel has fine streamer shaped yellow petals that fan out impressively from dark buds – impossible to miss on a gloomy evening! As a bonus, it smells great too.
Red-barked dogwood (Cornus alba)
In the summertime, it’s easy to overlook Red-barked dogwood, as it really doesn’t look that impressive. However, once the nights draw in, it’s a kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde character, revealing vibrant ruby-red stems that really stand out.
Pansies (Viola v. tricolor)
Whimsical pansies are a colourful addition to any garden all year round, but they’re particularly charming when allowed a bit of space to show off their colours in the winter. Plant pansies in tubs and window boxes for a surprising splash of brightness in the colder months.
This is a big, bold shrub with dark, glossy leaves and sprays of delicate, pink-coloured buds. These are perfect for whacking in the corner of the garden and leaving them to ‘do their thing’ – they’ll reliably bring great displays of berries throughout the winter and are perfect for festive flower arrangements.
This sturdy climber is great for covering the bare brick walls and empty hanging baskets that winter tends to reveal. With large, creamy blooms from November through until March, it will also bring a touch of ethereal beauty to a winter garden.
Winter flowering cherry (Prunus subhirtella autumnalis)
Cherry trees are really delightful, and most impressive in spring when swathes of pink line suburban roads. There’s a special variety that flowers in the winter too, however – great for providing a touch of spring, just when you might need it!
Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
The clue’s in the name. In woodland and more wild gardens, plump yellow buds burst out around January time surrounded by a delicate fringe of green leaves. Once they’ve finished flowering, it’s back underground until the summertime.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
This fragrant herb is a treat on the dinner table with roast lamb, but also display delicate purple flowers twice yearly too. The evergreen leaves are remarkably hardy , and release that mouth-watering scent when brushed against even in the coldest months.
Though we won’t be seeing the bright colours and abundant blooms of the summer for another few months, there’s real beauty to be found in your garden during the winter months. Get some fabulous houseplants, and plant some bulbs in time to bloom for Christmas (read my blog here), and you’re all set for a winter surrounded by your favourite plants!