Time spent in the garden may seem unappealing in the cold months of January and February. So here are 5 ways to add some interest and encourage you to linger, cup of soup in hand, in your winter garden
1. Add a birdbath or bird table
We may all have retreated indoors but birds will appreciate a regular supply of food and water. Birdbaths can look decorative too, throughout the year. And you’ll enjoy watching their antics from your kitchen window.
Regular bird visitors will become old friends by springtime.
Just remember that the birds will come to rely on a regular supply of food and make sure that the birdbath is free of ice on the harshest mornings.
2. Scented winter flowering shrubs.
Planted by your patio or door, scented shrubs will encourage you outside to appreciate them . Cut a few branches for lovely fragrance indoors. A visit to your garden centre now should give you some ideas.
- Hamamelis x intermedia– Witch hazel – delicious scented yellow flowers; plant in sun and prune after flowering.
- Daphne odora aureomarginata – stunning scent in late winter; definitely one to cut to bring indoors.
- Mahonia x media Winter Sun- striking architectural evergreen with scented yellow flowers.
- Sarcococca confusa – perfect for a container, glossy green leaves, very fragrant cream flowers followed by black berries.
3. Plant structural evergreens.
A box hedged parterre or knot garden remains beautiful throughout the seasons, even better with a frosting of snow.
Condense this look for your garden into this ….
…. or this
There are many evergreen shrubs you can use too, as well as standard bay trees and topiary in pots.
4. Create a focal point
In winter the structure of your garden is exposed. Take time to assess it. Would it benefit from an arbour or a bench?
A painted bench adds its own colour to your winter garden
or even a sculpture to add interest to a bed now devoid of perennials.
Something classical for a period house …
or something more contemporary …
You don’t give up on your house in winter, so have fun being inventive in the garden. Window boxes and pots can still support an attractive display.
Give your garden an individual look – visit carboot sales or secondhand shops for quirky containers to fill with pine cones, evergreen branches, logs … or simply allow them to speak for themselves.
As the days draw in, adding lighting or candlelit lanterns draws the eye outside.
Lets hope that the weeks and months ahead are not too harsh…..
… and we have this scene to look forward to in February.
Very good tips. I too live where winter plays heavily on landscape design. I think it is an asset to a landscape to have the structure of the garden take center stage, where color is less important and texture pulls its weight.
Absolutely right. We’ve had a couple of very bad winters in recent years. Thanks so much for your input.
Love your “Focal Point” idea. In seems you can design this into even small gardens.
Yes I think you can use a focal point in smaller gardens to add some interest, less is more in this case but even a garden chair or bench can act as a focus. There’s an earlier post about focal points you might like.
Great points– for very small gardens (like mine) it’s hard to put some in practice, but I would love to find a nice vintage bird bath. I didn’t plant any bulbs, yet…
Enjoyed your comment! Try reclamation yards for vintage bird baths; even new ones from garden centres look ok after a few seasons outdoors, and surrounded by planting. Still fine to plant bulbs in the next month….
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