Contact us on +44 (0)7766 202 162

Winter Plants

Winter Plants
winter garden

As the nights draw in and the days shorten it is easy to think that gardens are going to sleep and won’t wake up until spring. Leaves have fallen from many trees and shrubs, with herbaceous plants dieing back too, leaving gardens looking quite bare. Gardens at this time of the year aren’t as bright and vibrant as the summer, but they can give us many interesting plants. Some of the features that plants have at this time of the year aren’t seen so easily at other times of the year.

Seed heads

Seed heads from flowering plants create archetectural structure to gardens and stand out once the leaves die back. Seed heads also attract birds to gardens, giving them extra food through the winter. Some great plants to grow for their seeds are Honesty (Lunaria annua), Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) and Chinese lantern (alkekengi).

Colourful Stems

Colourful stems are prominent at this time of year on shrubs and trees. Dark red stems on Dogwood (Cornus sanguineum) create a glowing effect when the winter sun shines on them. This provides a really good contrast with evergreen plants. Other Dogwoods also have colourful stems such as Cornus flaviramea, which has attractive yellowy-green stems and Cornus mid-winter sun, which has interesting burnt orange to pale yellow stems.

As well as shrubs, some trees have qualities that really stand out at this time of the year. Once the leaves have fallen from surrounding shrubs, the trunks and stems of trees are exposed. Many of the trees in the birch family have really beautiful colours and textures to their bark, particularly the Himilayan birch (Betulus jacquemontii). The bark on this tree starts to peel off as it ages and is nearly pure white. The small patches of bark that peel off, reveal a smooth, pale pinky-white bark that looks a lot like skin. This new bark then turns white.

Another tree that looks great at this time of the year is the Tibetan cherry (Prunus serrula). This tree has shiney dark copper coloured bark, that looks as if it has been polished. The bark on this cherry also peels off into attractive curling strands.

Berries

Berries on trees and shrubs look great in winter. Most Hollies produce berries and they contrast well with it’s spikey foliage. Holly is also a popular plant to have indoors for christmas decorations. Another plant that has bright coloured berries is Pyracantha, which has red, orange or yellow berries. The great thing with pyracantha is that it can be trained on walls, which allows it to really stand out. Pyracantha berries are also a really popular source of food for birds. A less common shrub that has stunning berries is Calicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii. Once the leaves have fallen from the plant in the autumn, the berries are revealed, which have a beautiful metalic purple colour.

Fragrant flowering plants can provide such a lovelly surprise in winter. Many of the fragrant plants are quite discrete in appearance compared to summer flowers.  A fantastic plant to cheer up a garden is Christmas box (Sarcococca confusa). It is an evergreen shrub that grows to about a metre in height and has small white flowers that produce a beautiful smell that can fill a small garden with fragrance. Another great winter plant is Witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis). The flowers on this plant are yellow and look like strands of saffron. Just as appealing as the look of the flowers is the strong scent that they produce. When planted in a garden, Witch hazel has the appeal to get you outdoors on a cold day just to look at it and have a smell of it’s stunning flowers.

Fragrant flowering plants

Fragrant flowering plants can provide such a lovelly surprise in winter. Many of the fragrant plants are quite discrete in appearance compared to summer flowers.  A fantastic plant to cheer up a garden is Christmas box (Sarcococca confusa). It is an evergreen shrub that grows to about a metre in height and has small white flowers that produce a beautiful smell that can fill a small garden with fragrance. Another great winter plant is Witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis). The flowers on this plant are yellow and look like strands of saffron. Just as appealing as the look of the flowers is the strong scent that they produce. When planted in a garden, Witch hazel has the appeal to get you outdoors on a cold day just to look at it and have a smell of it’s stunning flowers.