Aiming for a year round garden. Part One – The Winter

Over the last few years we have worked hard planning to make our garden look and feel good all year round. So today I took a wander with camera in hand to see how well we had done so far. See what you think. Are we getting there?

Of course flowering bulbs come into their own at this time of year and we now have a wide selection of crocus, muscari, miniature narcissi and Iris reticulata throughout the garden. Grasses are of equal importance but only recently have they been accepted as an essential element of the winter garden. The first photo shows how well our Pony Tails Grasses contrast with the foliage of Hebes. In the second crocus team up with grasses to create a great combination of colours and textures.

2014 03 03_6817 2014 03 03_6792

2014 03 06_6878 2014 03 06_6876 2014 03 06_6875 2014 03 06_6874

2014 03 03_6829 2014 03 03_6805

A have a soft spot for celandines, enjoying the glossy yellow native plant that lights up our hedgerow bases as well as the cultivated bronze leaved Brazen Hussey and the “Giant Celandine” in the photograph below.

2014 03 06_6868 2014 03 06_6867 2014 03 06_6866 2014 03 06_6865

2014 03 03_6788 2014 03 03_6789

Euphorbias are another of those families of plants that are all year round essentials in our gardens but at this time of year their new bracts glow on overcast days. Foliage is perhaps more important than flowers in the winter garden as it provides variations of colour, pattern and texture. Phormiums, Heucheras and grasses are most effective.

2014 03 03_6832 2014 03 03_6806

2014 03 03_6831 2014 03 03_6830  2014 03 03_6828 2014 03 03_6827 2014 03 03_6811

Scent can play its part as it pervades the calm air and delights us as we wander with the thought of brighter warmer days. Daphnes, Sarcoccocas, Cornus, Mahonias and Viburnums all perform well in our garden.

2014 03 03_6825 2014 03 03_6824 2014 03 03_6823 2014 03 03_6786

2014 03 03_6808 2014 03 03_6796

Textured bark on our trees in our Spring Border looks especially good in winter light. The peeling orange bark of the Prunus serrula and the birch is like slithers of brittle toffee.

2014 03 03_6821 2014 03 03_6820 2014 03 03_6819

Hellebores star in most gardens in winters since so many wonderful easily grown specimens have become available in most garden centres and nurseries.

2014 03 03_6818 2014 03 03_6813

2014 03 03_6812 2014 03 03_6790

Here some of our many hellebores  are twinned with coloured stemmed cornus and salix.

2014 03 03_6809

Any flower brave enough to appear in the winter is worthy of mention be they primulas, witch hazels, pulmonarias or bergenia. They would perhaps seem quite ordinary if they flowered among the stars of the summer garden but in the winter they are extraordinarily good garden plants.

2014 03 03_6816 2014 03 03_6815     2014 03 03_6810   2014 03 03_6807

2014 03 03_6797 2014 03 03_6799

2014 03 03_6798 2014 03 03_6791

A recent discovery is the shrub Drimys with its red stems, glossy green foliage and buds looking fit to burst into life.

2014 03 03_6804  2014 03 03_6803

2014 03 03_6802     2014 03 03_6795 2014 03 03_6794 2014 03 03_6793

Structures such as our cloud pruned box hedge that lines our central path become much more important and noticeable in the emptier garden of winter. But we hope our garden is now richer in this the coldest and darkest of our seasons.

2014 03 03_6814

We must not forget the role our feathered friends play in adding colour, sound and movement to our garden in winter.

2014 03 03_6842

Part Two of our search for the all year round garden will consider our garden in Spring. Signs of that season are already giving hints of what is to come such as in the buds of the quince fruit tree.

2014 03 03_6822

Published by greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.

5 replies on “Aiming for a year round garden. Part One – The Winter”

  1. What a collection you have, I sense years of garden visits and “just a little thing we picked up” going on. It’s really all putting on a great show. How is arbor replacement going?

Comments are closed.

This Veggie Life

A Vegetarian | Nature Lifestyle Blog

Rambling in the Garden

.....and nurturing my soul

The Arch City Gardener

Journeys In St. Louis Gardening and Beyond

Garden Dreaming at Châtillon

Consult the genius of the place


A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.


Notes from a wildlife-friendly cottage garden

PlayGroundology emerging social science

The Official Blog of British Wildlife

'The most important and informative publication on wildlife of our times' - The Independent. This blog is a member of The UK & Ireland Natural History Bloggers group:


Home School Gardening

Bishops Meadow Trust

To create and protect a semi-natural wild space for the people of Farnham to enjoy and experience an array of British wildlife in our town

Gardening with Children

The Blog


birding through the seasons, why birds matter and how to conserve them


with a camera in hand


Transform your outdoor space

Eva's space

My allotment, cooking and other interests

Old School Garden

my gardening life through the year


Trying to live a creative life


trying to live as lightly as possible on our beautiful planet

Good Life Gardening

Nature lovers from Leicester living the good life.


Finding the beautiful in the everyday


Michelle's Allotment

In and Out of My Garden

thoughts from and about my garden


Big plans for a small garden

The Fruity Chicken

Life at the fruity chicken


Off grid living. Self sufficient. "PERMAGANICS RULE".

St Anns Allotments

Nottingham's Grade 2* Listed Allotments and Community Orchard

Manifest Joy Harvests

a journey in suburban vegetable gardening

The Garden Smallholder

Small-Scale Smallholding, A Tiny Farm In A Big Garden


The madness of growing your own

Penny's Garden: a harvest beyond my front door

A novel approach to vegetable gardening


Sustainable living in the Irish countryside.


Master Gardener, amateur photographer, intermediate quilter and lover of day trips around New England


Recent work and work in progress and anything else that interests me


a chaotic cottage gardener

Lens and Pens by Sally

a weekly blog that creates a personal philosophy through photographs and words

Dewdrops and Sunshine

Stories from a sassy and classy Southern farmbelle.

The Pyjama Gardener

Simple Organic Gardening & Seasonal Living

gettin' fresh!

turning dirt into dinner


today the world is created anew

Garden Birds

Notes from a Devon garden


Life Through The Lens

Adapting Pixels

A photography blog showcasing the best photography pictures and videos on the internet

Wildlifegardening's Blog

Just another site


personal observations from the natural world as the search continues for a new approach to conservation.


The Wonders of Life through my Eyes, my Heart, my Soul

%d bloggers like this: