Designing Winter Gardens – Adding Colour

Ornamental Stems - Cornus

All gardens look drab in the winter but adding extra colour is easy. There are flowers, ornametal stems and berries that all look fantastic at this time of year and will give you and your garden a boost.

Top of my list to plant in any garden for their coloured ornamental stems are Cornus. They come in a variety of colours from bright yellow through to the deepest of purple so will fit in easily with any existing planting scheme. Be bold and plant them in groups and you will create a ‘wall of colour’. Add to that a backdrop of evergreen and a variegated ivy for groundcover and you have a striking combination.

As a garden designer in Hitchin I try to  use at least one of the following Cornus when designing a garden for a client : Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’, Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ or Cornus alba ‘Kesselringii’.

White Flowering Hellebore

White Flowering Hellebore

As for winter flowers there is nothing more stunning in the garden than a hellebore. Their nodding saucer-shaped flowers have a prettiness and delicacy that is all their own. The flowers last for 3 months and rise above attractive leathery evergreen foliage. Plant them at the front of a border where you will see them or in groups under deciduous shrubs and trees.

Cotoneaster Berries

They are perfect plants for a woodland setting or garden with a shady border. If I’m looking for a white flower I use Helleborus x hybridus ‘Harvington’ double white whilst my favourite deep maroon is Helleborus x hybridus ‘Harvington Shades of the Night’.

For a larger statement plant a winter flowering shrub such as Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ or a flowering cherry tree such as Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’.

Bright red and orange berries are another way of adding a splash of colour to your garden in the depths of winter. Cotoneasters are my favoured choice, not only are they tough and easy to grow there is a wide variety of shape available. Choose from free standing shrubs, those that grow against a wall, low ground cover and those suitable for hedging. Cotoneasters also make attractive trees and if you want to read more about those click here.

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