Winter in the garden at Sheffield Park

Trees in winter at Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex

Winter brings lingering misty mornings over Sheffield Park’s lakes, allowing frosty trees to display their sculptural beauty. Wrap up warm and enjoy crisp air and the crunch of frosty leaves underfoot.

The garden is a horticultural work of art, formed through centuries of landscape design, with influences of ‘Capability’ Brown and Humphry Repton. Four lakes form the heart of the garden, with paths circulating through the glades and wooded areas surrounding them. Each owner has left their impression, which can still be seen today in the layout of the lakes, the construction of Pulham Falls, the planting of Palm Walk and the many different tree and shrub species from around the world. Winter brings misty mornings and frosty trees to give the garden a timeless, sculptural beauty. 

Please note that Walk Wood is closed from November to March for visitor safety, wildlife conservation and path preservation. 

 

Lakes

Water has always been a key element of the landscape at Sheffield Park and our five lakes have become an iconic feature, which is much photographed and enjoyed by everyone who visits.  Their hand-dug, clay-lined construction creates dramatic reflections of the carefully planned planting that surrounds them.

Trees and shrubs

Our vast collection of trees and large shrubs are planted to create vistas that enhance the feeling of scale and grandeur of the property.  The garden has received a Grade I listing and holds the national collection of Ghent Azaleas.  Below are some key species to look out for this season.

A frosty bridge at Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
A frosty bridge at Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
A frosty bridge at Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex

December

Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet gum) - A deciduous tree with toothed leaves and good autumn colour. Although closely resembling an acer, it does not have the winged seeds of the maple family. There are around 30 examples of this tree in the garden. 

Pinus Montezuma (Montezuma pine), Pinus radiata (Monterey pine), Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) - At this time of year, the great Pinus trees provide a stunning view against the sky.  Sheffield Park has a national champion of the Montezuma; thought to be a one-off clone as it was grafted onto an unknown rootstock, the tree was planted in 1910 by Arthur Soames. In 2008 the tree produced its first viable seed, from which 12 seedlings are now being raised. 

January

Mahonia - The variety of Mahonia in Sheffield Park is a hybrid of Mahonia lomariifolia and Mahonia japonica. This is a bushy, upright, evergreen shrub with dark-green, spiny, glossy leaves. In autumn and winter it bears fragrant, yellow flowers which are followed by blue-black berries.

Mahonia in the Winter Garden at Winkworth Arboretum

Chinese witch hazel - A deciduous shrub which, in winter, has clusters of sweetly scented, bright yellow, spidery flowers clinging to bare twigs.

Chinese witch hazel in January at Sheffield Park
Witch hazel in flower in January
Chinese witch hazel in January at Sheffield Park

February

Snowdrops – Snowdrops are among the first bulbs to bloom in spring and can form impressive carpets of white in areas where they are native or have been naturalised.

Red barked dogwood – This is a deciduous shrub from the family Cornaceae.  In the winter its rich red stems are a particular feature of the plant, which grows in thickets up to 3 metres tall.  It produces the brightest winter bark when planted in full sun.

One of the first signs of spring - Snowdrops
Snowdrops growing in a National Trust garden
One of the first signs of spring - Snowdrops

Colourful bark takes centrestage at this time of year - look out for the golden tones of the Acer griseum (paper bark maple) or the patchworked Stewartia pseudocamellia and Stewartia sinensis. And don't forget to tag us in your pictures. 

Sheffield Park Cascades winter

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