Cre­ate a win­ter par­adise

Use the short days and cool tem­per­a­tures to fo­cus on plants for shape, tex­ture and colour, says Louise Cur­ley

Garden Answers (UK) - - Contents -

Use the short days and cool tem­per­a­tures to fo­cus on plants for shape, tex­ture and colour

As the days get shorter, much of the gar­den slips into a win­ter slum­ber. Some herba­ceous peren­ni­als re­treat be­low ground, the last an­nu­als suc­cumb to frost and dor­mant de­cid­u­ous shrubs and trees shed a car­pet of colour­ful leaves. It can feel like the fi­nale to the gar­den­ing year, and time to hun­ker down in­doors un­til spring. How­ever, a win­ter gar­den can be a beau­ti­ful, en­chant­ing place. Cho­sen care­fully, plants can raise the spir­its with un­ex­pected flow­ers and scent, pro­vid­ing you with a colour­ful scene to look out onto from the warmth of in­doors. A heavy frost can lure you out­side to marvel at the in­tri­cate de­tail of cob­webs and seed­heads, the lu­mi­nes­cent qual­ity of jewel-like berries and the crazed pat­terns trapped in a frozen bird bath. All these sea­sonal treats ease the jour­ney through the bleak­est months. Flow­ers may be few and far be­tween, but fo­liage, stems, berries and bark can all help to bring colour, shape and tex­ture to your gar­den. Even if space is lim­ited, you can dis­til these el­e­ments into win­ter con­tainer dis­plays us­ing dwarf shrubs and conifers, ever­green ferns and grasses mixed with cheer­ful win­ter bed­ding.

Sea­sonal treats ease the jour­ney through the bleak­est months

Ev­er­greens of­fer solid forms that lend weight to a plant­ing scheme

A heavy hoar frost en­hances sword­shaped phormium leaves and dainty Nasella gi­gan­tea seed­heads, with sil­very stems of laven­der

SNOWY SPHERES Holly trees are flanked by clus­ters of clipped buxus balls. Re­mov­ing the lower holly fo­liage (‘rais­ing the canopy’) has re­vealed their slen­der trunks

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