Here is a simple list of plants that you could consider for your garden to help keep year-round interest. Speak to a garden designer of landscape gardener about helping perk up your Glasgow garden over the winter. There’s no need to have to abandon your garden to the elements and ignore it till the spring, there are heaps of plants out there that look great with a coating of frost on or being blown about by winter wind. A garden designer can help with a planting plan to select these plants, and you will always find it easier to find a landscape gardener over the winter months. Tom is able to provide plants and planting as part of his garden design and landscape gardening service in Glasgow.
Landscape gardeners and garden designers in Glasgow and beyond like using ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis and Deschampsia cespitosa, both of which have a hardiness rating of 6, meaning that temperatures can dip to below -20C and they should survive. Both look great swaying in the wind, and can help to add real texture and depth to your garden.
Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ is one of my favourites. Pruned hard in the early spring will help ensure bright orange winter stems that really shine in a winter garden. Left unpruned and the summer foliage and flower display is attractive too, but for me the orange stems are the real draw here, and look great around a white-barked tree such as Betula utilis var. jacquemontii. Hardiness ratings of 6 and 7 respectively for the Cornus and Betula.
Viburnum tinus are not the most exciting of shrubs, but they are evergreen, and healthy specimens can provide help provide some bulk to a shrub bed, and they have a pretty good display of flowers over the winter months. In milder climes these plants are prone to damage by sawfly larvae, but I find in the colder climate in north Scotland that this is less of a problem. They only have a hardiness rating of 4, but I have seen happy examples in north-east Scotland.
Skimmia japonica are attractive medium-sized shrubs and are a very useful addition the winter garden. Female plants will produce displays of red berries if the flowers are pollinated. Hardiness rating of 5 for this one, so they may need protection in a particularly cold winter (mine have survived down to -15 without protection).
Landscape gardeners and garden designers also like Hamamelis x intermedia (Witch Hazel), which produce a superb display of yellow flowers before the leaves arrive, ideal for a Glasgow garden. Be warned however, this is a fussy tree to get established in the first place. Hardiness rating of 5.
Daphne Mezereum is another plant whose flowers emerge before the leaves arrive. The purple flowers have a good scent too, and with a hardiness rating of 6 they will survive a bad UK winter.
Jasminum nudiflorum (Winter Jasmine) is a deciduous shrub with arching branches, producing a beautiful display of yellow flowers in the winter. These are not fussy plants and take care of themselves, they have a hardiness rating of 5. Many landscape gardeners and garden designers in Glasgow will happily recommend these.
And don’t forget bulbs. The ever-popular and ever-reliable Crocus has different varieties which flower any time from early winter to early spring. Galanthus sp.s (Snowdrops), often thought of as the first of the spring flowers, is really one of the last of the winter. Don’t waste your money on the bulbs though, they are far more reliable when planted ‘in the green’ (i.e. clumps of spent Snowdrop plants transplanted)
This is just a small selection of ideas for winter interest, there’s loads more you can get to help ensure you keep plenty of interest over the winter months – some well chosen plants can make the winter garden a magical place!
Tom Angel is a Chartered Horticulturist who offers services as a garden designer and landscape gardener (specialising in soft landscaping) in the Glasgow area.
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