The Mains of Drum

The Wonders of a Winter Garden

Published 03/11/2023

For so many of us, once the temperatures drop, we consider this the end of the gardening season. But why not create interest in the garden in winter, even if you are enjoying the view through a window? There's absolutely no reason why your garden can't be exciting in winter.

Well known gardens such as RHS Harlow Carr, Bressingham, Bodnant, Anglesey Abbey, Hillier's and Cambridge Botanics have all got dedicated areas in their gardens for winter borders, and although these areas are on a larger scale than your average garden, you can take inspiration for plant combinations and reproduce them on a smaller scale.

Some key things to consider in a winter garden are scent (Sarcococca, Hamamelis, Daphne, Chimonanthus and Lonicera fragrantissima are all good options, it's worth planting them close by a path or door, so you will get to smell the fragrance as much as possible), stem colour (as in Cornus, Salix and Acers), or bark (Prunus serrula for it's rich burgundy striped bark, Acer griseum for it's peeling papery bark and Betula utulis var. jacquemontii for it's vivid white bark are but a few examples).

Evergreen shrubs and conifers will provide year round interest but come into their own in winter, providing much needed structure to the garden. By combining plants with different leaf shapes and conifers with different forms and colours, (blue, green, golden, some even go a burnt orange) you can create a really interesting border. Grasses add movement and texture or in the case of lower growing grasses, such as Festuca glauca, provide colour and ground cover. Winter flowering heathers create a carpet of colour as the understorey of the planting, and Hellebores flower any time between November through into spring depending on the variety and come in a wide range of colours. Early flowering bulbs such as snowdrops, winter aconites and Iris reticulata will appear like little gems in the garden, often poking through the snow when we have a wintry spell.

You can also add interest to the winter garden by using bright, colourful pots, or with features such as bird baths, sundials, arbours, arches, and garden ornaments. These can act as focal points around the garden. With clever planting and interesting features your garden can be a wonderful place to be, even on the coldest of days!

The Mains of DrumThe Mains of DrumThe Mains of DrumThe Mains of DrumThe Mains of DrumThe Mains of Drum

Other Articles

The Mains of Drum

Perfect Poinsettias

Red, white, pink, orange and various shades in between, add a lovely pop of colour to our houses in winter. These plants like a warm room away from any drafts.

View Article
The Mains of Drum

Create a stylish winter wreath

Winter is a wonderful time to get creative. As the days are short and cold we tend to spend more time inside and less in our gardens. For this project you can bring a little bit of nature inside, or hang it on your front door. You can take cuttings from the garden, forage for foliage, berries, and cones (if the weather permits!), or buy real or artificial foliage and flowers instead. It's up to you what you want to include on your wreath!

First off it's best to go with a theme. Are you wanting a traditional wreath, with red, gold and green? Or maybe something more modern like silver, blue and green? Or you could even go rustic with a simple green and brown colour palette. There's so many different options to suit every taste.

Next decide what kind of wreath base you want to use. You can use rattan (like I have here), or a base with wire and moss. Moss is a good option as it holds moisture, keeping your wreath fresher for longer.

Once you've decided on a theme and you have your base, it's time to choose what foliage, flowers or fruits and decorations you want to include. Make sure to have plenty of foliage, as this is the back bone of your wreath and what makes it look full. There's no right or wrong combination, so just experiment with what you think works well together, and have fun!

Stick the stems into the base until they are secure, or for extra hold you can use a little florists wire to keep the stem in place. Work your way around the wreath ensuring there is a balanced amount of foliage. I tend to add odd numbers of things as this works best.

Once you're happy with the foliage you can start to add in any cones, berries, dried flowers and fruit. You could even wrap around a small set off lights, which will illuminate your wreath and add a bit of festive sparkle. Finish off by adding any bows (you'll need something at the top to hang the wreath from, but you can also add for decoration).

And voila, a festive wreath! Mist the foliage each day to keep your wreath fresher for longer, avoiding the berries, dried flowers or fruit. And for those of you who don't feel so confident making your own or simply don't have the time, we have a lovely selection of pre-made wreaths in store now in a range of styles and sizes.

View Article
The Mains of Drum

Awesome Autumn

September is a great time to plant bulbs to look forward to after the winter. The soil is still warm and perfect for planting trees.

View Article