Winter colour could be just white all winter long if you live in an area where there is snow for most of the winter months. And if you've made sure that there are enough visually interesting shapes in all sizes to be covered in snow, your garden will look great all winter long.
Earlier this year I went for a walk in my village to see what winter colour other gardeners had provided for their gardens. This is what I saw last January:
Colourful Brassica's in white and pink. They are edible but taste rather bitter.
Red dogwood (Cornus alba spp.) with an underplanting of Gaultheria procumbens. I like how the red of the stems, leaves and berries echo the red of the brick wall. Gaultheria is acid loving, great for ground cover ( rabbits don't eat it ) and the birds don't like the berries so they stay on for quite awhile.
Viburnum tinus, with an under planting of boxwood.
A close up of Viburnum tinus.
And here another Viburnum, very different from the first one. This is Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' which flowers on bare wood and its pretty pink flowers are scented. There is also a white flowering one Viburnum x bodnantense 'Deben'.
Close up of Dawn.
Bergenia cordifolia with beautiful purple red leaves, looking great against that green hedge.
And how is the Bliss garden doing for winter colour? Pretty well, I should say, thank you for asking. ;-)
This is how my part of my front garden looked quite recently after 4 inches of snow had fallen and this is how it looks at this time of year without snow:
Stripped down to its bare bones the front garden is still visually interesting because of the strong lines of the boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) and Berberis thunbergii Atropurpurea hedges. Colour is provided by the box and conifer hedges giving us lots of green during winter, some of the box beds are stuffed with white lavender (Lavandula intermedia 'Alba') which adds a lovely silvery grey to the winter palette and the Berberis hedging provides us with a splash of purplish red.
An added bonus are its bright red berries.
In the back garden a hedge of Fagus sylvatica around the potager is stealing the show at the mo. Fagus is great as a hedge; it's green in spring and summer, then it changes into a pretty mosaic of green, yellow and brown in autumn, and
finally its leaves turn completely brown and they stay on during winter. In the Bliss garden the fagus hedges looks pretty good against a backdrop of evergreen hedges and green lawn.
What would the winter garden be without a splash of colour? Here lots of violets and pansies (Viola) are dotted about in pots and hanging baskets all over the garden to cheer the winter gardener up with their colourful, happy, smiling faces. Who would want to do without pretty winter violets at this time of year? Not me, that's for sure.
copyright 2008: Y.E.W. Heuzen