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Home Landscape Design Designing With Plants Plants to Create a Stunning Winter Garden
Plants to Create a Stunning Winter Garden PDF Print E-mail
Plants to Create a Stunning Winter Garden
The typical garden is thought of with beautiful sunshine, warm weather, and an abundance of sweet smelling blooms filling every border. When it comes to the long winter months, people often shy away from their gardens due to the cold and the belief that, along with the short days and plummeting temperatures, comes a barren and dismal looking garden. Nothing can be further from the truth though, and with a fantastic variety of plants perfect for adding winter colors, the garden can look just as stunning in the cold months as it did during the long summer spell.
Like all season, gardeners must take care to pick the appropriate plants for the winter season. However, unlike the warmer seasons, much of the winter palette may be brought with colors other than blooms, with barks, leaves, and berries all forming vital components. In addition, with many plants having become dormant and died back, thought must given to the contrasting backgrounds for winter plants. No longer able to rely on the lush green foliage of spring and summer borders, walls, sheds, and evergreens can become fantastic backdrops to set those all important colors off.
Bulbs are possibly one of the first winter options that come to mind. Whilst much of the garden may have gone into hibernation, late winter and early spring flowering bulbs will be busy pushing up new shoots and buds. Snowdrops will bloom even when temperatures are below freezing, whilst early flowering crocuses are ideal for a pale palette of pastel shades. Meanwhile cyclamen will flower throughout the colder spells as long as faded flowers are removed, and come in range of colors from whites and creams, through to salmon pinks and deep reds. Planted in mass, these bulbs can create a stunning sight as they bloom together. Created in waves throughout a bed, or in natural looking clumps under the shade of a tree, they will draw the eye. Alternatively, and for a more modern appeal, they can be set off against low growing grasses or the jet black leaves of Ophiopogon. This latter option is ideal for snowdrops, causing their white blooms to glint like pearls against a deep black backdrop.
A range of late winter flowering shrubs are also brilliant for bringing a heavy impact to any border. Forsythia will produce a huge number of yellow flowers on the previous year’s growth, lifting any garden instantly. Winter flowering jasmine can be trained along fences or pergola’s, and like the forsythia, will produce yellow blooms in the shape of tiny stars. Skimmia’s are also brilliant for the winter period, and look great when planted in pots and surrounded by dozens of winter flowering pansies or violas.
Berries are also an important part of the winter season that shouldn’t be forgotten. Not only offering vital food for birds throughout this precarious season, berries come in a fantastic number of forms. Pyracantha comes in varieties which will offer red, yellow, or orange berries. Cotoneasters are also great for the winter season with a range of berry hues, whilst old rose varieties can develop deeply red and large hips. One fantastic berry providing plant is callicarpa, developing clusters of iridescent purple berries. Placed in a pot, or allowed to grow into a large mature border shrub, this can be a stunning spectacle in the depths of the cold.
Like berries, bark can also form a major component to bringing winter color. Tree bark in particular can be stunning, especially when covered in early morning frost. Silver birch bark will glint in the winter sun and bring a magical element to any garden. Meanwhile the red or yellow stems of cornus can create a stunning display, especially when tightly packed together, and this multifunctional plant is a great addition to all gardens.
So whilst some may think that a winter wonderland is hard to create, careful planning of plants can bring something truly special. And by looking further than bloom color, berries, bark, and foliage can all bring a new element to a magical winter retreat.

by guest writer, Geoff Wakeling, for Brookside Patio Furniture

110510_cyclamen

The typical garden is thought of with beautiful sunshine, warm weather, and an abundance of sweet smelling blooms filling every border. When it comes to the long winter months, people often shy away from their gardens due to the cold and the belief that, along with the short days and plummeting temperatures, comes a barren and dismal looking garden. Nothing can be further from the truth though, and with a fantastic variety of plants perfect for adding winter colors, the garden can look just as stunning in the cold months as it did during the long summer spell.

Like all seasons, gardeners must take care to pick the appropriate plants for the winter season. However, unlike the warmer seasons, much of the winter palette may be brought with colors other than blooms, with barks, leaves, and berries all forming vital components. In addition, with many plants having become dormant and died back, thought must given to the contrasting backgrounds for winter plants. No longer able to rely on the lush green foliage of spring and summer borders, walls, sheds, and evergreens can become fantastic backdrops to set those all important colors off.

Bulbs
Bulbs are possibly one of the first winter options that come to mind. Whilst much of the garden may have gone into hibernation, late winter and early spring flowering bulbs will be busy pushing up new shoots and buds. Snowdrops will bloom even when temperatures are below freezing, whilst early flowering crocuses are ideal for a pale palette of pastel shades. Meanwhile cyclamen will flower throughout the colder spells as long as faded flowers are removed, and come in range of colors from whites and creams, through to salmon pinks and deep reds. Planted in mass, these bulbs can create a stunning sight as they bloom together. Created in waves throughout a bed, or in natural looking clumps under the shade of a tree, they will draw the eye. Alternatively, and for a more modern appeal, they can be set off against low growing grasses or the jet black leaves of Ophiopogon. This latter option is ideal for snowdrops, causing their white blooms to glint like pearls against a deep black backdrop.

Shrubs
A range of late winter flowering shrubs are also brilliant for bringing a heavy impact to any border. Forsythia will produce a huge number of yellow flowers on the previous year’s growth, lifting any garden instantly. Winter flowering jasmine can be trained along fences or pergolas, and like the forsythia, will produce yellow blooms in the shape of tiny stars. Skimmias are also brilliant for the winter period, and look great when planted in pots and surrounded by dozens of winter flowering pansies or violas. 

Berries are also an important part of the winter season that shouldn’t be forgotten. Not only offering vital food for birds throughout this precarious season, berries come in a fantastic number of forms. Pyracantha comes in varieties which will offer red, yellow, or orange berries. Cotoneasters are also great for the winter season with a range of berry hues, whilst old rose varieties can develop deeply red and large hips. One fantastic berry providing plant is callicarpa, developing clusters of iridescent purple berries. Placed in a pot, or allowed to grow into a large mature border shrub, this can be a stunning spectacle in the depths of the cold.

Trees 
Like berries, bark can also form a major component to bringing winter color. Tree bark in particular can be stunning, especially when covered in early morning frost. Silver birch bark will glint in the winter sun and bring a magical element to any garden. Meanwhile the red or yellow stems of cornus can create a stunning display, especially when tightly packed together.  This multifunctional plant is a great addition to all gardens.

So whilst some may think that a winter wonderland is hard to create, careful planning of plants can bring something truly special. And by looking further than bloom color, berries, bark, and foliage can all bring a new element to a magical winter retreat.

About the Author: Geoff Wakeling is a London gardener, blogger and a guest writer for Brookside Patio Furniture, which offers resin wicker patio furniture.  Browse for patio dining sets or patio chairs at www.brooksidepatiofurniture.com. 

 

 
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