Creating a winter garden to inspire
You can fight the seasons but in the end you'll lose – go with them instead and plant accordingly.
In the bleak mid-winter months that enshroud us we can turn to our gardens for inspiration and joy.
Winter flowering plants such as hellebores and camellias, cornflowers and calendula to name but a few can brighten up even the darkest winter day.
The winter flowering colour spectrum is well represented so which ever scheme tickles your fancy you can achieve it with some thorough preparation and research.
The key to successful winter gardens is choice and placement.
In winter we spend less time outdoors and more often than not see the garden through the glass panes of popular indoor areas such as the kitchen and the lounge.
This narrow perspective of our garden concentrates the need for well placed spectacular colour amongst the drab winter backdrop.
This dictates that the vistas from these commonly used winter haunts are crucial in creating a successful winter garden. In summer however the reverse applies. We spend much of our time outside so we see the garden from a wider perspective.
As a garden is an annual affair we need to bring balance to this equation so that the winter colour is bounded by good form plants with complimentary structure.
As many winter flowering plants are innocuous in summer you need to create a depth to your bed so that as winter cedes to spring, spring to summer, summer to autumn and autumn to winter.
The plants in your beds rise and fall with glory in turn so that there is always something to enjoy. This is true for many popular deciduous plants like hydrangeas and wisteria that are fabulous in summer but leave a hole in the garden during winter.
There needs to be companion plants that either have great form and structure or winter flowering. Creating a garden that flows and ebbs with the seasons is no easy task but it is the natural way to create a successful garden.
You can fight the seasons but in the end you’ll lose – go with them instead and plant accordingly. You really need to do your research when creating a year-round flowering garden.
Flowering plants should always be balanced with nonflowering plants to give an annual structure to the garden.
These non-flowering plants are the backbone to every garden and are the foil to the comings and goings of seasonal plants. When planning your garden you must calculate your key vistas and save these for the best combinations.
These narrow perspectives are the most viewed so spend the most time planning these. One successful way to achieve this is to plan from key area to key area and then work on filling in the gaps.
Remember that repetition is favoured over introduction of lots of new species.
Repetition brings structure on another level and can also add asymmetry which is a successful style for most modern gardens.
Gardening is hard work but like most hard work it is very rewarding and with good research and techniques it is possible to create a great garden that inspires us all year long.
Camellia Elfin Rose, cloud pruned in layers to give an accent point, can brighten up a winter garden.