Anyone can achieve a beautiful, colourful summer garden whether it’s a carefully planned herbaceous border or pots of annuals, but to keep your garden interesting in winter and inviting enough to tempt you outside in the cold, that’s a really tricky one! You also want to consider the view from your house, and the rooms that overlook your front and back gardens.
As a basis you need to include a certain amount of evergreens to keep a good overall structure, those that do drop their leaves should have elegant structures, colourful bark or winter berries.
Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ is a medium sized shrub with stems that become brilliant red in winter.
Cotoneaster horizontalis is a climbing shrub with bright berries in autumn to early winter.
Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii has stunning purple berries.
Acer griseum the Paper-bark Maple has beautiful autumn leaves and fascinating peeling bark.
Buxus sempervirens look good all year round clipped into balls, low hedges or topiary.
Try adding another layer to your garden with sculptures, salvages items such as old chimney pots, or sculptural plant supports, that will look good when they are not covered in plants.
Choose structures with interesting shapes that will look good in the winter.
Make use of areas under deciduous trees and shrubs to plant winter flowering bulbs like snowdrops or hellebores which start flowering in February. One of the main problems with a winter garden is bare earth. Planting densely will help keep areas covered, but if you have to leave and area of earth bare, make sure you mulch to protect it through the winter and it also looks much neater.
And finally, don’t forget to include some winter flowering shrubs such as camellia, honeysuckle, daphne odora and mahonia.
Here are some ideas for winter plants from Crocus…