Winter gardening tips from the Garden Centre

Morden Hall Park Garden Centre with cyclamen in the forground

Transform your garden this winter by adding bursts of bright colour, textures and interest during the winter months.

Gardening in winter can conjure ideas of bleak, grey gardens with little interest, but despite the cold, gardens can be a magical place at this time of year. At Morden Hall Park Garden Centre, we have plenty of ideas for you to transform your garden, and show you how to add unexpected bursts of bright colour and interest into your garden during the winter months.

Colour

Cornus, with stems of red, yellow or black make fantastic focal points in the garden at this time of year. Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' is as wonderful in the winter as it is in the summer. After dropping its leaves, its red stems look glorious on a cold morning.

Robin on the coloured winter stems of Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' in the Winter Garden at Dunham Massey, Cheshire
Robin on the coloured winter stems of Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' in the Winter Garden at Dunham Massey, Cheshire
Robin on the coloured winter stems of Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' in the Winter Garden at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Texture

Another way of adding interest during the winter is to allow perennials to go to seed. Instead of cutting back the plants after they finish flowering, try leaving plants with attractive seed heads, such as echinacea, rudbeckia, teasels, echinops and ornamental grasses to add textures and height in the winter months. They can be cut down in spring when you see new growth appearing at the base.

In addition to adding interest, these plants also feed wildlife. Small birds are particularly attracted to these plants; it's not uncommon to see a goldfinch on teasels in the winter, for example.

Bulrushes in the wetland in Morden Hall Park, London
Bulrushes in the wetland in Morden Hall Park, London
Bulrushes in the wetland in Morden Hall Park, London

Evergreens

Evergreens come into their own at this time of year and there are plenty to choose from. Holly and yew are typically wintery plants with their bright red berried, but there are plenty of evergreens to choose from. Mahonia, with its hollylike leaves and yellow flowers, or hebes, which flower prolifically in the summer are fantastic architectural plants to fill out smpty spaces at this time of year. Nandina Domestica is also a popular, attractive evergreen, which turns a vibrant red in the winter.

Flowering Plants

Early flowering trees and shrubs, including hamamelis (witch hazel), sarcococca and daphnes herald the new season with their sweetly scented flowers.

As the winter moves into spring, camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons will begin to flower with jewel-like tones, when little else is in bloom. These popular shrubs require ericaceous compost. Camellias, and compact varieties of azaleas and rhododenrons are easy to grow in containers, making them an excellent option for a patio in the late winter and early spring.

(Left) Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) in the Winter Garden at Dunham Massey, Cheshire. (Right) A close-up of Daphne bholua, 'Jaqueline postill', a pale pink Spring variety at Nymans, West Sussex
Two images. The first shows Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) in the Winter Garden at Dunham Massey, Cheshire. The second shows a close-up of Daphne bholua, 'Jaqueline postill', a pale pink Spring variety at Nymans, West Sussex
(Left) Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) in the Winter Garden at Dunham Massey, Cheshire. (Right) A close-up of Daphne bholua, 'Jaqueline postill', a pale pink Spring variety at Nymans, West Sussex

Containers

One of the easiest ways to inject colour into your garden is with winter bedding. Winter pansies, violas and cyclamen are popular plants, perfect for a container or in front of a border.

Try planting a container with a selection of evergreens and winter bedding. Evergreens such as heuchera or skimmias provide texture. While solanum, winter pansies, cyclamen, hellebores provide colour for a seasonal display.

Planting up a container

Place crocks in the bottom, and use a mix of peat-free compost and grit to add drainage. You can also add a slow release fertiliser to extend the flowering time, we recommend using an organic fertiliser.

Arrange the plants before planting, considering texture, height and colour. For our containers, we have selected a mix of winter bedding annuals and evergreen shrubs and perennials. Calaophalus brownii, Heuchera 'Lime Marmalade' and 'Midnight Rose' create a base of colours and texture. When combined with the winter pansies and cyclamen, these containers will provide bright colour which will last throughout the winter months.

Arrange your plants on top of the pot before planting
Winter container at Morden Hall Park Garden Centre. Arrange your plants on top of the pot before planting.
Arrange your plants on top of the pot before planting

We also have pre-planted hanging baskets available at £17.99 each, and small window box planters £18.00 each or large window box planters at £19.99 each.

A pre-planted window box available at Morden Hall Park Garden Centre
A pre-planted window box available at Morden Hall Park Garden Centre
A pre-planted window box available at Morden Hall Park Garden Centre

Prices correct December 2018.