Sometimes in the winter, we seem to live our lives in the dark and the grey. Having a little winter colour in the garden can be a lovely mood booster, and choosing a selection of annuals and perennials can attract wildlife to make you smile, and remind you that there is still life in the British countryside. Here are a few tips for you to be able to enjoy your garden through the winter from inside your house!
Pyracantha is a colourful investment for your garden, its bright orange or red berries are not only very cheerful to look at, but will also attract winter birds to your garden. By keeping it pruned, you can train it to any shape to fill a small or larger space, or even flat against a wall or fence. Regular pruning throughout the growing season will encourage a thicker layer of berries in the winter months, brightening up any dull or ugly fence. This shrub will happily grow in your garden year on year becoming bigger and brighter each winter.
Ilex, more commonly known as Holly, comes in a variety of evergreen shapes and sizes, providing green the year round, and a festive burst of colour with lovely red berries in the winter months which will too attract winter birds. Holly can be trained into standards and other shapes – place a couple of holly standards in pots either side of a pathway or steps in your garden for a regal effect. Decorate them with some tinsel and twinkly lights at Christmas if you like to bring out their festive cheer.
To make an exotic statement all year round, why not consider an olive tree or two? These are perfectly safe to leave out through the winter, and are a stunningly beautiful, graceful addition to your garden’s architecture. Planted in an elegant pot, you will be able to move it to different positions around your garden to suit you at different times of year. Again, these are available in chic standards – either side of your front door these will be a regal and sophisticated declaration to your visitors throughout the winter months. Add planters nearby with white flowering perennials and bulbs such as white aubrietia, snowdrops, white cyclamen and white flowering phlox to accentuate their Mediterranean impression.
For colour at ground level, try a mixture of evergreen perennials and ground cover such as Ajuga, phlox and Vinca Major Variegata, and variegated ivies. If looking for height at the back of your flowerbeds, try a couple of architectural plants such as cordylines or chamyrops.
For a splash of bright colours add yellow pansies and violas, with red cyclamen – this will brighten up the dampest and darkest of winter days! When planting up your beds, don’t forget to throw in a few bulbs – daffodils, narcissi, tulips and snowdrops will poke their heads through at various different times over the springtime, giving you a new burst of life and colour every few weeks to cheer your spirits.
If you have the space, try making up some winter tubs and pots – arrange them in clusters of small medium and large matching sets, and move them into different places in the garden. If you use your patio less in the winter, group your pots into an artistic arrangement in the middle of the space. Get a bird table or bird bath and place it in the centre of your arrangement where you can see it easily from the window. Just like moving the furniture round in a well used room in your house, this will give your garden a very different feel. For instructions about how to make up your own pots and tubs, click here.
Your garden needn’t be drab and lifeless as the months of the year would have you feel, and just because you don’t want to go outside in your garden, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy it from the comfort of the indoors!