Add visual warmth to your garden with winter-flowering plants
The winter chill may soon be creeping into your garden, but this doesn’t mean it has to be grey too. Now is an ideal time to ensure you have some winter-flowering plants to add brightness to your day.
With any style of garden it is best to have a variety of plants throughout the year to give you colour or interest in all the seasons. It may not just be flowers; it could be foliage or fruit as well. For a winter-flowering garden there are many options — trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and climbers — which will fit in with your climatic requirements.
The point of having winter-flowering plants is to be able to see them through the winter months. They need to be in a position where they will be an obvious feature.
Colour choices for winter-flowering plants
Gardens planted with blooms chosen specifically because they bring winter colour are more commonly found in cooler climates, especially in areas where they get frost or snow. In these parts of the country, the days are bleaker than in warmer areas so it is even more important to have winter colour. It is also in these areas that a lot more thought needs to go into what you plant, as they will need to be frost-tolerant or able to cope with snow.
The colour choices available for the winter flowering garden are endless. For a harmonious woodland feel you might like to stick to the softer pastels, such as pinks and mauves. If you would prefer a more dramatic display, you could plant splashes of bright colours such as yellow, red or orange.
Deciduous trees and shrubs such as Magnolia x soulangeana and Magnolia denudata start to produce their white, purple or pink blooms in mid winter. Other deciduous plants that will flower in winter include different types of blossom trees, viburnum, cornus, forsythia, and Japanese flowering quince.
Among the evergreen trees and shrub, there is Camellia japonica and rhododendron. Both hold good winter form and flower in various shades of pink, red or white. Other evergreen shrubs are Japanese pieris, kniphofia, Australian paper daisy, primulas, hellebores, iris and bergenia.
There are many bulbs which start to flower through the winter months, including spider lilies, cyclamen, snow drops and daffodils. Climbers are always a good way to add colour and interest on the vertical plane and your choices include clematis, native sarsaparilla and orange trumpet creeper.
Many Australian native plants which flower through the cooler months are especially good if you want to attract native birds or animals. Plants such as grevilleas, banksias, callistemons, hakea, acacias, boronias, native hibiscus and kangaroo paws are all great examples, so discover what’s indigenous to your area.
Written by Glenice Buck
Originally in Outdoor Design & Living Magazine Volume 36