As the days grow shorter and the temperatures plummet, it’s easy to feel a sense of resignation, believing that our gardens (and ourselves!) must endure a drab and colourless winter. However, with a little planning and creativity, you can transform your outdoor space into a vibrant haven, even during the coldest months.
At Genesis Gardens, we’re passionate about creating gardens that thrive throughout the year, and winter is no exception. When we plan gardens we think about the entire year.
Here are some of our top tips for adding a touch of winter colour to your garden:
1. Embrace the Beauty of Evergreens
Evergreens are the backbone of a winter garden, providing a constant backdrop of vibrant green foliage. From the towering majesty of conifers to the delicate textures of ferns, evergreens add depth, structure and visual interest to your landscape.
Consider incorporating a variety of evergreens into your winter garden design, such as:
Conifers: Pines, spruces, firs and cedars provide a range of shapes, sizes, and textures, adding year-round interest to your outside space.
Shrubs: Boxwood, holly, laurel and rhododendrons offer a variety of foliage colours and shapes, creating focal points and borders.
Groundcovers: Periwinkle, ivy and pachysandra add a layer of greenery to bare soil, preventing erosion and enhancing visual appeal.
2. Plant Winter-flowering Bulbs
While many bulbs sleep through the winter, several varieties bloom during the coldest months providing a welcome splash of colour.
Winter aconites: These bright yellow flowers emerge in late winter, offering a cheerful reminder that after winter comes spring. Plant in October or November.
Snowdrops: Delicate white bells with green tips, snowdrops are a classic symbol of winter beauty and resilience. Although it’s best to plant snowdrops in August and September, it is possible to successfully plant them in October and November.
Hellebores: Also known as Christmas roses, hellebores produce stunning cup-shaped flowers in a range of colours, including pink, white and purple. Hellebores can be planted at any time of year, providing the soil isn’t frozen. Most hellebores are listed for sale when they’re in flower (late winter to early spring) and can be planted immediately.
3. Add Winter Bedding Plants
Winter bedding plants such as pansies, violas and cyclamen offer a burst of vibrant colour even during the coldest months. These hardy plants come in a wide range of colours and patterns, allowing you to create eye-catching displays in containers, borders and window boxes.
4. Incorporate Berried Shrubs
Berried shrubs not only provide a splash of colour but also attract birds and other wildlife to your garden, providing them with essential winter nourishment. Consider these shrubs:
Hollies: With their vibrant red berries and glossy green foliage, hollies are a classic winter decoration.
Pyracantha: Fiery orange or red berries adorn pyracantha shrubs (also known as Firethorn) providing a striking contrast against the winter landscape.
Rowan: Beautiful Rowan trees produce clusters of orange-red berries that persist throughout the winter, offering a visual feast for birds and humans alike.
5. Include Winter Fruits
Winter fruits add a touch of colour and edible beauty to your garden. Some of these can also be harvested for culinary use – from jellies to cordials and more.
Crab apples: These small, ornamental apples come in a range of colours from bright red to yellow and green.
Rose hips: The hips of roses, ranging from red to orange to black, provide a source of food for birds and add visual interest to winter gardens.
Dogwood: Dogwood trees produce clusters of bright red berries that persist into the winter, adding a vibrant splash of colour to any outside space.
6. Shimmer with a Touch of Sparkle
There are other, more instant ways to add colour to your winter garden. Why not incorporate decorative elements that reflect light and add a touch of sparkle?
Garden ornaments: Place frost-resistant garden ornaments such as birdbaths, statues or wind chimes to add visual interest and reflect light.
String lights: Solar-powered string lights can be draped around trees, shrubs or railings, creating a magical ambience.
Reflective surfaces: Incorporate mirrors, glass spheres or polished metal into your garden design to reflect light and add a touch of sparkle.
Winter Need Not Be Dull
By following these tips, you can transform your winter garden into a vibrant oasis, providing a touch of colour and cheer throughout the coldest months. Remember, a winter garden is not about creating a perfect, manicured space; it’s about embracing the beauty of the season and finding joy in the natural world, even when it’s dormant.