teasel seed head

The Winter Garden

We all know that our gardens in the winter months need not be dreary, uninteresting landscapes. We can introduce plants that are at their best at this time of the year or that offer additional interest in winter; perhaps interesting skeletal form. We can choose evergreens for their constant structure and substance too.

As well as the aesthetic advantages to a glamorous winter garden are the obvious benefits to wildlife, I particularly advocate leaving sturdy perennial stems for hibernating insects. Many herbaceous perennials produce seed heads that are not only beautiful but offer food to birds, teasels may be the obvious choice but there are many others.

My favourite winter shrubs are probably dogwoods, I rather like that throughout the rest of the year they can be rather inconspicuous in the border (variegated leaf forms notwithstanding) and then their leaves turn all manner of beautiful colours – bright reds, buttery yellows to reveal gorgeous shiny coloured stems. I pollard mine to the ground every spring so they don’t get too big either and a good stem colour is assured – of course one sacrifices flowers for this marvelous show…

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