As the weather cools and the days grow shorter, many homeowners and gardeners are spending much of their time indoors. But even during the winter months, a garden should still have moments of colour and interest. On those beautiful sunny winters days it is lovely to spend some time in the garden in the sunshine. And even on drizzly Melbourne days you can still enjoy gazing out into the garden through the window.
To ensure that a garden can be enjoyed year round, here is our list of the best plants to inject colour and interest into the winter garden.
Flowers are often mostly associated with Springtime, however there are many beautiful blooms that can be enjoyed throughout the Winter months.
A staple of Melbourne gardens, Camellias offer beautiful blooms and sweet fragrance to the garden from Autumn into Winter. They are great for hedging, pots or artfully placed outside a window surrounded by a lush underplanting.
Flowers range in colour from crystal white to deep pink and cover these excellent small trees from head to toe.
Late Winter blooms fill the air with sweet perfume, and the evergreen foliage looks lush year round. A fabulous large shrub to small tree with an upright habit, its perfect for hedges. Masses of creamy white flowers cover the tree in late winter and fill the garden with their sweet fragrance. A great choice for courtyards and smaller gardens where plants need to have multiple roles.
Heralding the end of Winter, Deciduous Magnolias in full bloom are truly a sight to behold.
Large, goblet shaped flowers, ranging in colour from deep purple, soft pink and glistening white, decorate the bare branches of these small trees for weeks on end. Their compact size makes them perfect for smaller gardens. They look magical near a water feature where their beauty can be magnified in the water’s reflection. The timeless charm deciduous Magnolias makes them an elegant choice for any garden.
While most plants are celebrated for their foliage or blooms, there are some who boast striking bark, which is often best appreciated in the depths of Winter.
A bright and cheery shrub with white flowers in Spring and Summer, however the Winter transformation is a show stopper. After shedding golden yellow leaves in Autumn, the stems of Cornus … turn brilliant red. Great when used on mass to achieve eye catching results.
This much loved Japanese Maple is a delight in every season. The Coral Bark Maple takes its name from the scarlet colour of the stems and branches during the winter months. When set against an evergreen green ground cover, such as Trachelospermum asiaticum, these small trees shine in the winter landscape
An elegant tree with crystal white bark, the Moss White Birch is sure to stand out in the winter garden. A more upright cultivar of Betula pendula, it sports the peeling white bark and delicate foliage that makes these Birches so popular. Imagine an avenue of these beautiful trees with a carpet of Hellebores below, proving that every season should be celebrated in the garden.
Foliage is the backbone of a garden in every season, and there are some great plants that look particularly vibrant in the Winter months.
A classic evergreen shrub for introducing rich foliage colour, Loropetalum China Pink looks vibrant all Winter long. Whether you use it as a low hedge, dot it throughout a mixed garden bed or plant it on mass under a large tree, the rich burgundy foliage will add colour and interest to the garden all year long.
Nandina Moonbay is a hardy evergreen shrub that has vividly coloured foliage in the Winter months. This densely growing shrub can reach a size of just under 1m each way and makes a lovely, low maintenance hedge or clipps beautifully into spheres. In Winter the lime green foliage takes on touches of red, copper and orange for a fiery display.
An accent plant of increasing popularity, this soft leaved Yucca is nothing like the spiky green ones you spend hours cutting out of the garden. Yucca desmetiana can reach a size of 1.5m tall by 1m wide. The strappy foliage is predominantly blue green, but takes on toes of mauve and copper. A wonderful plant for adding contrasting texture and form to the landscape or pots.