Planting a winter garden

Planting a winter garden

Gardens don’t have to look dull and drab just because it’s winter. Plenty of plants come into their own at this time of year, with flowers, berries and even coloured stems bringing gardens to life through the coldest months. Here are a few of our favourite plants for winter gardens.


Plants with colourful bark

Some plants look their best when their leaves have fallen and the beauty of their coloured bark and stems is revealed. Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ (dogwood) is one of the best shrubs for a winter garden, with spectacular yellow-tipped orange stems that blaze with warm colour on cold winter days. Prune it hardback in early spring to encourage new shoots with good colour for next winter’s show.

Other trees with brightly coloured bark include Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ (Japanese maple) with vivid red young stems, and Acer davidii (snakebark maple) with striking green and white-striped trunks. Birch trees also look fabulous in winter, whether it’s the gleaming white trunks of Betula utilis var. jacquemontii (Himalayan birch) or the cinnamon-brown peeling bark of Betula albosinensis (Chinese red birch).


Best plants for berries

Plants that bear berries are a must in any winter garden. As well as adding colour, berries are a great food source for wildlife, bringing birds flocking to your garden. There’s no shortage of berry-bearing shrubs to choose from, and here are three of the best:

  • Pyracantha (firethorn) – bears yellow, orange or red berries in winter.
  • Ilex aquifolium (holly) – Female varieties bear glossy red berries provided a male variety is nearby for pollination
  • Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldi ‘Profusion’ (beauty berry) – perfectly named for the gleaming purple berries that stay on the plant well into winter


Winter-flowering plants

You can’t stop flowers doing their thing, even in the depths of winter. Hellebores, those stalwarts of the shady garden, look fantastic at this time of year, with clusters of flowers in shades from pure white through pink and red to darkest purple-black. Pink and white cyclamens form carpets of colour under trees, together with snowdrops and winter aconites. Mahonias bear bright yellow scented flower spires, and in early spring Chaenomeles (Japanese quince) lights up shady spots with its white, pink or red-and-gold flowers.


Plants for winter pots

If you’re short on garden space, violas are one of the best choices for winter pots, and they’re available in just about any colour you can think of. Winter-flowering heathers also look lovely in pots, as well as providing vital food for bees venturing out in mild spells.

Colourful heucheras look stunning in pots all year round and make superb feature plants for large winter pots, surrounded by flowering winter bedding. Evergreen grasses like Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ (blue fescue) and Carex ‘Evergold’ also make excellent winter container plants.

So if your garden’s got the blues, visit us and choose from our great range of plants to fill it with colour this winter.

You might also be interested in:

15 gardening tips for July

When the days are long, and the sun is shining, July is the month for really enjoying your garden. To help you keep it looking tip-top, we’ve put together our top 15 garden tips for July.

Houseplant of the month: Celosia

If you’re looking for spectacular flowers and gorgeous, vivid colours, a celosia is just what you need. These exotic-looking annuals add colour to pots and bedding schemes, and the flowers look stunning in arrangements. Here’s how to grow and care for a celosia

How to grow your own pizza?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just pop into the garden and pick a pizza ready-made off the plant? Sadly, that’s not possible, but it’s easy to grow some or even all of the ingredients to make your own pizza sauce. Spread it on a base, top with some cheese and hey presto, you have yourself a home-grown pizza.

Top 5 barbecue tips

When the sun is out, and your garden is looking glorious, it will be time to roll out the BBQ and start grilling during the summer months. The smell of barbecue's waft far and wide, making the neighbours join in as well! After many months of the BBQ being stored in the shed, it is time to give it a good clean and enjoy some family cooking time in the garden. Here are our top 5 tips for having the best BBQ fun.