Short of winter interest in your garden?
Is your garden looking dull and colourless at this time of year? Once bare of leaves, interesting and attractive tree trunks come into their own. Plant such a tree as the centrepiece of a winter garden or as an out-of-season highlight in the main border. Add some colourful stems to your borders amidst some evergreen shrubs and jazz up your garden for January!
Dogwoods look colourful planted in drifts with their red-, yellow- or coral-coloured stems, they are easy to care for and they will tolerate a range of soils and locations. It is important that structure in the form of trees, shrubs, hedges, walls and fences, which provide substance in the garden do not appear flat and lifeless out of season. No only do these provide a back drop to summer planting, they can provide points of interest all year round.
Many evergreens can be clipped into distinctive shapes i.e. yews, buxus or holly.
Imagine the garden filled with deliciously scented flowers throughout the darkest winter months. Such pleasures are easily realized by growing some of the winter-flowering shrubs such as Viburnum, Mahonia and Sarcococca. Positioned close to an outside door, or along a much-frequented path where the fragrant flowers can easily and often be appreciated, these shrubs will be a source of enjoyment for weeks on end.
Top trees and shrubs with winter interest.
Betula utilis jacquemontii (Himalayan birch) – this variable tree with peeling white bark has dark green leaves that turn yellow in the autumn. In early spring, produces yellow-brown male catkins. As a single stem tree will grow to 18m, multi-stemmed trees will not grow as tall.
Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ – a Japanese acer with bright coral-red shoots in winter. The leaves open yellow-orange, turning soft yellow in the autumn. Maximum height 6m, maximum width 5m.
Elaeagnus x ebbingei ‘Limelight’ – dense, rounded to spreading, evergreen shrubs has silvery young leaves, which become marked with yellow and pale green in the centre. Maximum height and spread 3m.
Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ (corkscrew hazel) – has strongly twisted shoots, which are particularly effective in winter. Maximum height and spread 5m
Viburnum bodnantense – an upright deciduous shrub with dark green leaves, bronze when young. Fragrant tubular pure pink flowers, on bare stems from late autumn to spring. Maximum height 3m x spread 2m.
Sarcococca hookeriana – Plant this Christmas box near a path to enjoy the sweetness of its small white flowers all winter long. 1.5 x 2m (5ft x 6ft).
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