Croome's winter plantings

Katherine Alker, Garden and Outdoors Manager, South Worcestershire Katherine Alker Garden and Outdoors Manager, South Worcestershire

Even during the colder months, there’s lots of colour and structure to be enjoyed in Croome’s parkland.

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the famous 18th century landscape designer, ensured that there was something interesting to see throughout the seasons at Croome.

Crocuses are another early flowering bulb and over a thousand were planted in the Wilderness Walk, they give a colourful display with their bright golden petals.

Look out for our winter flowering aconites around the lakeside.

Winter flowering aconites (Ranunculaceae Eranthis)
Croome winter flowering aconites
Winter flowering aconites (Ranunculaceae Eranthis)

Year-round structure in the parkland comes in the form of evergreens such as yew (Taxus baccata), Holm Oak (Quercus ilex), Portuguese laurel  (Prunus Lusitanica), holly (Ilex aquifolium) and box (Buxus sempervirens), all of which are evergreen trees with glossy green leaves in various shades. Yew, Box and conifers in particular respond really well to being clipped and so are ideal for forming topiary shapes. The evergreens can also provide shelter for other plants from the strong winter winds and even frosts.

Scented plants such as Winter Daphne (Daphne odera), which has a wonderful fragrance, as well as pretty pale pink flowers, is grown in the Evergreen Shrubbery, an area designed by ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th century for the 6th Earl of Coventry to specifically give winter interest. 

Daphne odora (winter daphne)
Croome daphne odera
Daphne odora (winter daphne)

We also grow witch hazel (Hamamelis) which has bright yellow, fragrant, spidery flowers on its bare branches in mid to late winter.  In the 18th century there were over 150 different heathers grown in special beds in the Flower Garden. 

Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is another scented favourite at Croome, with a beautiful fragrance as its name suggests. This is a shrubby honeysuckle, not a climber, and it flowers in winter with dainty creamy white flowers on arching stems.

Snowdrops in the parkland
snowdrops in the parkland at croome
Snowdrops in the parkland

There’s a wonderful show of snowdrops in the Church Shrubbery in the first few months of the year and you can see Galanthus nivalis which were mentioned in the 1824 guidebook, the Hortus Croomensis.

Over a two year period in 2009 and 2010 we planted 10,500 snowdrops in the Church Shrubbery.

Unlike many other bulbs, snowdrops are best planted ‘in the green’. This means we plant them while they are still in leaf, having been dug up after flowering, rather than in the autumn as a dry bulb.

Try planting snowdrops at home.

Best time to plant: plant in the green, just after flowers have faded

Type of spot: Best planted in semi-shade, in a moist, but well-drained soil with leaf mould or garden compost incorporated.  It is important that the soil does not dry out in Summer.

Aftercare: Snowdrops will spread and naturalise themselves.  They can be lifted and divided when clumps have become very dense.

Snowdrops near the Punchbowl Gates
Croome snowdrops punchbowl gate
Snowdrops near the Punchbowl Gates