You may think that our gardens are dull and boring in the winter but if we plan them carefully a garden for all our seasons can be achieved. Many plants have colourful stems at this time of year. A particular favourite of mine is the Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ which has beautiful red stems, I love this plant and have a few of these in my own garden. Another great one is Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ with orange stems. Cornus species are great shrubs and work well in most gardens tolerating full sun or partial shade.
These shrubs will look great in the winter and then as the new buds start to appear around March cut them back quite hard as this will encourage a stronger new growth with a more vibrant colour stem.
Other ideas for winter planting are; Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna which is an evergreen shrub which flowers during the winter and has fragrant creamy flowers, its good for full sun and partial shade and is a hardy plant coping with pretty severe winters. Helleborus niger also known as the ‘Christmas Rose’ is another great addition to the garden flowering from December through to March. They are a low growing plant which loves to be around the base of trees, like a woodland effect. In January/February time cut some of the leaves back to the ground, this serves a couple of purposes one to reduce the chance of Hellebore leaf spot and secondly it also shows off the pretty flowers.
Winter planting for pots are another quick way to add some colour this season, use Violas, Cyclamen and Heuchera and while on the subject of pots they will need some protection from the frost so raise them up on feet or bricks, this also helps with the drainage.