A winter's day in the garden at Nymans

Tom Whalley, Gardener Tom Whalley Gardener
Bare branches against a midwinter sky

Winter blooms & colourful foliage are some of the attractions on offer at this time of year in the garden. During the winter months the garden is at its most atmospheric and striking as bursts of colour emerge and the bare bones of the garden are on show.

Nymans winter walk packed full of colour and scent all winter long
Nymans winter walk
Nymans winter walk packed full of colour and scent all winter long

Winter Walk

The beauty of Winter Walk is that it brings together, in a single area, plants that are particularly striking in this season of the year. The appeal of any one plant, shrub or tree may relate to its winter blooms, or perhaps to the colour of its foliage or stems, the texture of its bark, its berries or seed pods, or indeed its scent. Vibrant colours and heady perfumes both brighten the scene and lift the spirits, even on the dullest days of winter.

Colourful Cornus stems brighten the winter garden
Colourful Cornus stems brighten the winter garden
Colourful Cornus stems brighten the winter garden

Dogwoods

Renowned for their brightly-glowing stems, the twiggy and twisted dogwoods range in colour from rich dark browns to crisp apple greens and fiery yellows and reds. When it comes to scent it's hard to resist the sweet and delicate aromas that rise from the unassuming green mounds of sarcococca (winter box). But it is the incomparably rich perfume of the daphnes that wins out in the end, and without which the winter garden would be less of a delight.

Winter pot
Winter pot
Winter pot

Winter pots for you to try at home 

Displays in pots are great not only for spring and summer interest, they can add an element of focus in winter too, and it's a chance to try out some interesting or unusual combinations. Consider not just the effect of flowers, such as winter violas or cyclamen, but the impact of stem and leaf colour, shape and texture as well. Shrubs with scent, such as winter box, are perfect for a pot placed at a doorway, and coloured stems or variegated foliage will brighten a dark courtyard or shady pathway. 

View over the rock garden towards the house in winter
View over the rock garden towards the house in winter
View over the rock garden towards the house in winter

Winter views

In the long months of winter there is nothing better to invigorate the soul on a crisp morning or sunny afternoon than a brisk walk through the garden, taking in the fantastically fluted trunks of Lime Avenue, the magnificently conical conifers of the Pinetum and the unexpectedly vivid winter heathers on the Ha-Ha, not to mention the berry-laden hollies and other proud evergreens.  

Still lots to do in the garden even in mid winter
Gardener pushing wheelbarrow
Still lots to do in the garden even in mid winter

Jobs for early winter:

  • Wisteria pruning along the pergola, removing any dead wood and thinnning where the growth has become overcrowded.
  • Cutting pea sticks (hazel) from the woods to be used as natural plant supports in the garden later in the year - particularly the summer borders.