Winter in the garden at Mottisfont

Frosty mornings bring out a unique beauty in Mottisfont's gardens: mist rising up from the river and crisp, sparkling lawns. This is the best time of year to visit the winter garden, which glows with colour during the shortest days of the year.

This one-acre garden took shape in 2010 near one of Mottisfont's oldest features, the font, which attracted settlement here more than 800 years ago. 

Dogwood and ornamental bramble show off bright winter bark, while berries, fruit and late- and early-flowering perennials also provide welcome bursts of colour. A wet area near the font supports ornamental willow, the stems of which take on burgundy, russet or yellow tints in the winter months.

Winter sunshine highlights colourful bark in this seasonal garden
Winter sunshine on bright bark, leaves and stems in Mottisfont's winter garden
Winter sunshine highlights colourful bark in this seasonal garden

Sweet-scented daphnes and winter-flowering honeysuckles, wintersweet, witch hazel and viburnum all contribute to a subtle fragrance in the crisp cold air.

Bright berries and fruit are provided by skimmia and euonymus, and there are splashes of colour from bergenia and hellebores. 'Streams’ of ground-hugging periwinkle, pachysandra and early spring bulbs echo the flow of the water from the adjacent font.

Delicate displays of snowdrops

White clusters of snowdrops nestle beside the font stream and along the river walk from late January into early February; a sure sign that spring is on the way.

" Snowdrops lift the spirits like nothing else and remind us of the delights of the spring to come. At Mottisfont, we plant native species Galanthus nivalis, which in time will self-seed and colonise, creating a snowy carpet of petals – perfect for our woodland setting."
- Jonny Norton, Head Gardener
Clusters of snowdrops wind beside Mottisfont's font stream
Snowdrops close up in foreground with house behind
Clusters of snowdrops wind beside Mottisfont's font stream