How to Maintain Winter Interest in your Garden
Bella from ThoughtsnLife Blog recently asked me to share tips on maintaining winter interest in the garden. I am happy to oblige.
The following tips are based on my own gardening experiences in Donegal, Ireland which has a very mild but often wet climate, with minimal frost and little snow.
If you have space, consider including a tree(s) in your planting scheme. Although my garden is quite small, I have included a Birch tree, a Rowan, 3 Apple trees, and a purple Elder. All of these trees lose their leaves in winter.
However, the birds love to sit on them and sing!
Simply adding a tree and perhaps placing a few bird feeders on it’s branches, will give you endless hours of pleasure during the colder winter months.
Rowan, Birch and Apple Trees
Shrubs provide good all year round interest in a garden. I have included the following shrubs as suggestions for winter interest because they are either evergreen or provide berries for the birds or striking stems or a beautiful scent…
- Cornus (Dogwood)
- Japanese Laurel
Hebe, Photinia “Red Robin” and Holly – all evergreen shrubs
I have a few different grasses in my garden, including this golden variety. It brightens up the area around my Birch tree year round, and provides a great backdrop for Primula, Hellebores, Daffodils, Muscari …
Taller grasses look lovely when frosted, making for a great sculptural effect.
Hellebores provide beautiful flowers in winter. The species below is Helleborus niger “Verboom Beauty.” It flowered from November to February last year.
The following herbaceous perennials will provide good winter interest:
Bergenia will provide large dark glossy leaves, and pink flowers.
Heuchera come in tones of dark purple (seen below), through to pinks and lime greens. They look well in groups of uneven numbers – 3, 5, 7…
Pulmonaria is a particular favourite of mine. It flowers from January, on through spring.
Heuchera and Pulmonaria
The following bedding plants will brighten up borders and pots, and look great teamed with bulbs:
- Winter Pansies
Purple Primula and Pom Pom Primula
There are a number of bulbs that flower in winter and spring depending on your climate:
- Iris reticulata
Bulbs look best when planted in a naturalistic manner. Simply throw a group of new bulbs onto the area you want to plant, then dig holes where they land.
Ceramic pots planted with bulbs will also add winter interest.
Pots look best when displayed in odd numbers.
Sculptures and other Garden Features
It is well worth including a few sculptural ingredients in your garden for year round interest.
I have a bog wood sculpture of a flying goose:
An urn, a bird bath and an angel:
Buddha and Ganesh carvings (bought in Bali) brighten up my fence:
You could also include:
- Bee boxes
- Bird nesting boxes
The Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers is a great book to have on hand for planting ideas. It will help you:
“Choose the right plants for your garden and find all the inspiration and guidance you need with the new edition of this best-selling illustrated reference book organised by plant colour, size, and type.”
Santa might gift you a copy at Christmas!
Questions for Future Posts
If you have any gardening questions, I am happy to feature them in future posts.
Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.
She lives in Donegal, Ireland – an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/r5GCjaetgZk