Cre­at­ing a win­ter gar­den to in­spire

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - LANDSCAPING -

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.

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