Winter gardens in the East of England

There’s nothing better on a crisp winter’s day than venturing outdoors to explore frosty landscapes and winter gardens. Here's a few of the best National Trust gardens in the East of England to see over the winter.

Close up of the bark of a silver birch tree

Anglesey Abbey's Winter Garden 

The Winter Garden at Anglesey Abbey is planted with a range of plants, trees and shrubs chosen to provide vivid colour, textures and scent during the winter months. The grand finale of the winter garden is the grove of Himalayan Silver Birch with their pure white trunks.

Topiary in early morning light

Blickling Estate 

Discover the structure and shapes of Blickling's garden, enhanced by the beautiful winter light. Wander around the Dell and Orangery gardens, where the snowdrops and hellebores begin to make a colourful appearance and follow the ongoing progress of the walled garden's regeneration.

A couple walking on a path surrounded by snowdrops

Ickworth 

Stroll along Erskine Walk where the path winds through winter-flowering shrubs, showcasing coloured and textured bark, winter berries and bulbs. In winter the leafless trees provide the best views and the peaceful walled garden is also a magical spot on frosty mornings, especially when there's a mist over the fairy lake.

Two people admiring the rhododendrons in bloom at Sheringham Park

Sheringham Park 

Camelias, snowdrops and early flowering rhododendrons all create colour at Sheringham Park in the winter months. The frosty temperature is no match for the early snowdrops, but it will dictate when the camellias start to flower, if the weather is mild they can burst into bloom as early as January.

Frost on the leaves of a plant

Peckover House & Garden 

Pull on your winter woollies and take a stroll around the beautiful garden at Peckover, where the gates open early in the year so you can make the most of this season. The two-acre garden boasts beautiful snowdrops and our 300 year old orange trees will also be at their most bountiful at this time of year.

Top tips for creating winter colour

David Jordan, Acting Head Gardener at Anglesey Abbey shares his tips for creating winter colour in your garden.

  • If you’ve got space fill it with big blocks of colour, rather than dot gardening.
  • Cornus has good vibrant colours and can be kept relatively small if pruned every spring, just as the leaves are breaking out of bud.
  • Prunus serrula (Tibetan cherry), with its really shiny coppery-coloured bark, which peels off, gives a wonderful effect with the sun behind it.
  • Ornamental brambles give great texture; though don’t pick the really vigorous ones. I’d suggest Rubus biflorus with its chalky white stems.
  • For scent, go for Sarcococca, its evergreen, likes chalky soils and grows in most conditions but doesn’t like being exposed to icy winds. 
  • For under-planting, go for irises, cyclamen, and snowdrops of course. Snowdrops like dappled shade and don’t like to dry out too much. They don’t want to be disturbed, so don’t hoe too much. Only lift and split when clumps have got too congested – say every 3-5 years depending on the size of the clump and how well they’re doing. They will benefit from a feed when they’re in leaf, bonemeal is fine or something organic. An autumn leaf-mould mulch works a treat in our Winter Garden.
Did you know...

When you brave the cold, it helps us protect the gardens in our care

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