As you would suspect the garden centre gets pretty quiet leading into winter. Forgivably no one wants to venture out into their gardens. As I write this I am bundled in blankets grateful for my shelter from the winter winds. But if you are like me then you have a window looking out into the garden and a warm room also sheltering equally grateful exotic house plants. I look out at the interesting plants in what most feel like is a boring time of year. Well I beg to differ. There are still lots of things to keep my interest peaked. So let me show you while you sit there snuggley warm and maybe something may peak your interest.
Starting inside: There is a wealth of interesting house plants for every domain, from warm and cosy to unfortunately fridge like. With colours and forms to suit every taste, we have several types of Aloe Vera (the same that goes into every soothing balm you see in the shops. But it looks good too, check out this stripy blue Aloe in its architectural splender. If flowers are more your thing, cyclamen will flower into Spring and will enjoy that cold part of your house where nothing else will flower (Pink frilly flower). If you need cheering up, Gerberas will do just that, if you ave a warm enough house you’ll get plenty of flowers.
Revive tired pots with hardy winter flowers such as violas and pansies. This is the time these guys shine holding onto their flowers all winter long. Combine them with evergreens. Thyme, small evergreen grasses, Ericas, Cineraria silverdust and ornamental cabbage are just a few things you can use for a beautiful winter display. Below you can see violas and white stocks that have a mouth-watering perfume.
Look at these shining chrysanthemums (no this was not taken in summer), perfect for the front of a border. You’ll find them doing their thing in autumn and spring. They are a hardy perennial, meaning they’ll come back year after year only requiring a little trim to keep them bushy. A tough little bush to brighten your garden are Ericas and Callunas, they will flower Autumn to Spring. They prefer acidic soil, so do well around here, but I find that they enjoy the shelter and dryness that conifers provide. Combining them like below seems like a match created by nature.
For interest in winter keep the rate of structural evergreens high in your garden. And be selective with the ones you choose. Here on the left Portuguese laurels make a great backdrop to the dogwoods, which in Winter come into their own. Also keep the colour of evergreens in mind, you can see the difference your palette makes in the three pictures above. The left shows harmonising colours that are similar and close on the colour wheel, very easy on the eye. Whereas below is a bold collection of contrasting colours, the Phormiums and Heucheras in this group will be visible from quite a distance.
So Winter may not be as showy as the other seasons, but I find it throws all kinds of surprises at you if you’re willing to see it. I’ve listed only a few of the beautiful Winter plants we have in store right now.
At the top is Abelia grandiflora, an interesting alternative to hedging in a suburban environment. Hedges should be interesting too, and this one definitely is, with its plethora of tiny white flowers throughout Summer into Autumn.
Below is Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Pee Wee’, an oak leaf hydrangea with white cone flowers in Summer. Its main draw is its interesting leaf which turns beautiful shades of red in Autumn. It is small, only growing 1m x 1m so perfect for a container or a small shady space.
Then there’s the fiery berries of the Pyracantha ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Shawnee’, the saturation of berries gets more intense each year, and is a great food source for birds. But don’t worry the birds can’t even dent the amount of berries you’ll get on a Pyracantha in the right place.
Last but most certainly not least is Osmanthus fragrans and as the name might suggest it is beautifully scented. In my opinion the scent is similar to jasmine, and like jasmine it wafts through the air. This may be because it flowers profusely on stems of holly like leaves. It also grows to over 2m x 2m and amount of flower will be truly intoxicating. Again perfect for a shady spot and a more interesting backdrop to some evergreens.
Not only is it interesting for us to plant Autumn/Winter flowering and berry producing plants, it is also vital for wildlife. Who unlike us can’t get a winter berry take away on a Saturday night. A healthy biodiversity in your garden equals a healthier garden and Autumn/Winter is the most important time to consider the small guys. Seeds are good but as we know, there’s nothing that can beat home grown and that goes for wildlife too.
If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.