With spring not far off in the garden, it’s only natural to be a bit impatient for that rush of colour that the warmer weather brings. Our garden has been looking decidedly drab all Winter; for the last couple of years I’ve promised myself in December that I will make some changes to our planting, to stop this lack of interest continuing into another year. Guess what? It hasn’t happened. But having put up with looking out of the window and thinking ‘meh’ for long enough, I’m determined to make some changes this year.
I’ve been looking at ways to add interest and colour to my late winter garden, and have come up with my wish list. If you’re keen to fill a planting gap in your garden over the winter months, here are some ideas to get you started.
Now I already have some hellebores in my garden, but in my opinion there’s always room for one more. To me they are the shining stars of the late winter garden; their flowers are delicate and tactile and their foliage is lovely too. I’m going to sneak a couple of new plants in amongst my hostas, which will come to life after the hellebores have had their moment of glory.
Clematis are a fantastic choice for livening up a dull wall or fence, and there are winter-flowering varieties that will do their best to give you something beautiful to look at on vertical structures. My favourites are Clematis urophylla ‘winter beauty’, which is lush and evergreen with white bell-shaped blooms, and Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ (pictured), which will really add a shot of colour to your late winter garden. It’s a good idea to grow them against a house wall to give them some shelter; this also allows you to see their lovely blooms from inside more easily.
Daphne Odora ‘Aureomarginata’
This has been on my wish list for a few years now; it’s a beautiful evergreen shrub which produces highly scented pale pink blooms in the depths of winter. A great addition to a sunny or partly-shaded border, but you can also grow it in a large container near the house if you want to get the full benefit of the fragrance.
Heucheras flower in the summer, but we’re not interested in the flowers here; at this time of year it’s all about the foliage. You can buy heuchera in lots of different colours, try mixing up a few varieties to really light up borders or containers.
One of my strongest childhood memories is of searching the woodland near my grandma’s house for the first primrose of the year. Primroses really do signify the start of spring, and can give your borders and containers a big hit of colour on drab winter days.
Pansies & Violas
Pansies and their smaller cousins violas really earn their space, as they as so long-flowering and you can choose from pretty much any colour you like. Use them as a short-term ‘filler’ for any gaps in your borders, or in containers and hanging baskets for an instant show of winter colour. Remember to dead-head them to keep them blooming.
Have you got any of these plants in your garden? Which is your favourite?