What to see in the garden in January

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.

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 not only to its winter blooms, but also to the colour of its foliage or stems, the texture or colour 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 are the twiggy and twisted dogwoods, ranging in colour from rich dark browns to crisp apple greens and fiery yellows and reds. When it comes to scent it is 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

Displays in pots are great not only for spring and summer interest; they can be created to add an element of focus in winter too and it's a chance to try out some interesting or unusual combinations. It's worth considering not just the effect flowers, such as winter violas or cyclamen have, but the impact of stem and leaf colour, shape and texture as well. The aim is to produce something  bright, perhaps perfumed and of course reasonably hardy. Shrubs with scent, such as winter box, are perfect for box placed at a doorway and coloured stems or variegated foliage will brighten a dark corner in a 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 at Nymans, 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.  With many of the deciduous trees now empty of leaves the views have opened up considerably, both within the garden itself and from the boundaries looking outward (at an elevation of 147m), so it is worth taking the time to pause and ponder the scene.

A garden trainee learning new skills at Nymans
A garden trainee learning new skills at Nymans
A garden trainee learning new skills at Nymans

January jobs in the garden

  • Wisteria pruning along the pergola, removing any dead wood and thinnning where the growth has become overcrowded.
  • Stone edging for the Welcome Hub bed.
  • 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.