Osterley Park's Winter Garden

The winter garden with holly

As the days grow shorter and the weather turns inclement it is sometimes tempting to stay indoors and wait for spring but on a crisp winter morning there is so much that can be enjoyed on a brisk walk through our Winter Garden.

We have been developing the winter garden for the last five years and it is now a wondrous sight to behold while the rest of the garden slumbers! We have planted many varieties of trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and bulbs - all of which have colourful or interesting leaves, bark, stems or flowers in the winter months, which are at their best when light levels are low and when the sun’s low angle lights up their bright stems.

The winter garden covered in frost
The winter garden covered in frost
The winter garden covered in frost

It is all based around my design using repeating circles as a motif – these taken from existing trees and their circular base shapes with winding grass paths leading to a circle of lawn in the middle, from which to view the whole display.

Clematis X Urophylla 'Winter Beauty', in flower in the Winter Garden
Clematis Urophylla 'Winter Beauty'
Clematis X Urophylla 'Winter Beauty', in flower in the Winter Garden

One of the other points of interest is the varying and different climbing plants that we use to clothe the trees with flowers during the winter months. These include the pure white Clematis x urophylla or ‘Winter Beauty’ with its glistening waxy bells shining throughout the worst of any winter weather; and also Clematis armandii or ‘Appleblossom’ which has grown nearly to the top of a mature conifer and festoons this tree with vanilla scented blooms.

Iris Reticula 'Cantab' flowering in the Winter Garden
Iris Reticula 'Cantab' flowering in the Winter Garden
Iris Reticula 'Cantab' flowering in the Winter Garden

Of the many thousands of winter flowering bulbs that we have planted one of the best is Iris reticulata or ‘Cantab’ - this small alpine bloom, which has evolved to pierce the snow with its flowers, has stunning cobalt blue petals that gleam against the soil.

Edgeworthia Chrysantha 'Chinese Paper Bush' in the Winter Garden
Edgeworthia Chrysantha flowering in the winter garden
Edgeworthia Chrysantha 'Chinese Paper Bush' in the Winter Garden

One of the more unusual and interesting shrubs that we grow is the ‘Chinese Paper Bush’ – Edgeworthia chrysantha - with its strange wide spreading branches and yellow chrysanthemum shaped flowers, this certainly  is a talking point with all of our visitors.

All in all a walk through this ¼ acre garden tucked away on the far side of the Pleasure Grounds is a winter treat, not to be missed.