Winter - a time for quiet enjoyment in the gardens

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Come for a therapeutic walk when you've had enough of feeling cooped up indoors - there's still plenty to see. If we get a frost, it turns the topiary in Green Court into sculptural forms. And of course, there’s nothing like spotting the first cheery snowdrops and primroses in the woodland garden in the new year. 

Brighten a dull day
Leaving Green Court you’ll see shrubby Abelia grandiflora on your right with its foliage tinged red by frost and still a few softly scented white flowers. Turn left through the gates and hidden among the snowdrops there are the deep-pink jewel flowers of shade-loving Cyclamen coum.

December visitors will see sugar-pink nerines at the base of the Green Court wall. Later, you'll spot cyclamen under the espaliered apples here too, The clipped yew shapes are at their best on a frosty day and have a greater impact now than throughout the rest of the year.

In late winter as you stroll past the north wall of the house towards the Parterre, you’ll feel lifted by the glorious scent of Sarcococca hookeriana with its small clusters of white flowers.

Parterre and pots
In a mild winter our spring bedding will start to flower in January and even the harshest weather delays things by only a couple of weeks. You can see pansies, bellis and polyanthus and the first leaves of the bulbs coming through in the Parterre and in the pots outside the restaurant. 

Woodland wonders
Even in the shady woodland garden the vibrant orange stems of Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ sing out against the bare dark soil and if you’re wondering where the delicious scent is coming from, you’ll soon spot the vivid yellow racemes of Mahonia media. This tall prickly-leaved shrub begins flowering in the autumn and is impervious to anything a British winter can throw at it.

We’re continuing to plant new and interesting plants here to delight our visitors all year round. After the snowdrops fade, you’ll see yellow aconites and many different hellebores in shades of pink and white.

One of the more unusual plants enjoying this sheltered area is the evergreen shrub, Chinese fig hazel, Sycopsis sinensis. Related to witch hazel, this stumpy, brush-like shrub has reddish-yellow flowers from late winter.

Keeping busy keeps us warm
In December, the garden team is responsible for collecting and erecting the Christmas trees for the house, but the tricky job of hanging all the decorations is left to the house team!

Come and share the gardens with us in winter and enjoy the little splashes of colour that cheer those short days.