Saturday, 3 February 2018

Love your garden in winter, with frosty evergreens

Love your garden in winter Evergreens Green Fingered Blog
Keep your garden looking interesting in winter by making sure you include some evergreen plants in your garden design. It'll make your garden look good all year round, and they'll make it worth your while to venture out when it's cold and frosty too.


You can make things really exciting with scented shrubs which flower in winter. They're not all evergreen but to have fragrance at this time of year is something special.

Perennial plants can be left all winter to enjoy their architectural stems or seed heads, and these can look good in frost too. It also helps all kinds of wildlife survive the winter.


Love your garden in winter, with frosty evergreens


But without evergreens things can still end up looking a bit brown and bland, with little more than bare stems to look at for a while (beautiful though they might be). Evergreens provide some green lushness when other plants are nothing put bare stems or stubby crowns at ground level. They can provide some structure and height, revealing different shapes to those that can be seen in summer when everything is growing strongly around them. And any architectural stems or seedheads will look even better set against an underlying structure of solid shapes and enduring colour. This will give your garden a sense of balance as these different elements compliment each other.

As a bonus, when things turn cold and frosty, as they did here this week, you can enjoy the effect this has on the hardy evergreens. They give the frost something to cling to, offering a fascinating silver grey glaze, and on closer inspection, a beautiful display of crystals hanging on to their leaves. Here are six that have been doing just that in my garden in the past week.

This post is my contribution to Six on Saturday, which is co-ordinated by The Propagator. Visit his site to have a nose at loads of other people's gardens too.

Pieris

The title picture is of a Pieris  japonica "Forest Flame". It's long slender leaves looked beautiful covered in ice.


A Lawn

The humble grass lawn is often overlooked. Potentially labour intensive but also a potentially stunning feature in a garden. Neglected in winter when it's too wet to mow, we can nonetheless enjoy it's transformation from muddy or sodden and featureless to a ghostly white haze.
Grass Lawn Love your garden in winter Evergreens Green Fingered Blog

Box hedge

It doesn't have to be a hedge. Buxus sempervirens can be clipped to any shape you like, be it a ball, dome, cone, pyramid or whatever you prefer. Whatever shape that is, it adds definition to any garden design, particularly at this time of year. And the lines it traces will be turned a silvery white on a cold morning, giving it another dimension. 
Box hedge Love your garden in winter Evergreens Green Fingered Blog
Buxus sempervirens

Hebe sutherlandii

Hebe's in general are useful evergreens. They make good sized shrubs for a border and their flowers attract bees. Some, like this Hebe sutherlandii can also be clipped quite neatly and make a good substitute for box if the dreaded blight has reached your garden. But the small leaves also hold the frost very nicely. 
Hebe sutherlandii Love your garden in winter Evergreens Green Fingered Blog
Hebe sutherlandii

Ilex crenata

Ilex crenata is a very small leaved holly that can also be clipped and used instead of box, though it doesn't suit very geometric styles in my view. It adapts better to softer, fuzzier balls or domes, but it always appears very solid and robust. It doesn't seem to develop any of the little gaps that box does sometimes, it seems to grow very thickly. I love the way the tiny leaves attract the tiny ice crystals around their edges, like iron filings, if conditions are right.  
Ilex crenata Love your garden in winter Evergreens Green Fingered Blog
Ilex crenata

Thuja occidentalis

Thuja occidentalis "Teddy" is a dwarf conifer that I've more or less shaped into a ball, growing with several other clipped evergreens in a section of my garden. It can't be clipped too tightly I've found, because it has a tendency to put on fluffy new growth that detracts from the intended shape. But these fluffy bits do hold the frost very delicately and are worth venturing out in the cold for a closer look. 

Thuja occidentalis Love your garden in winter Evergreens Green Fingered Blog

If there's something in your garden that looks especially good on a frosty morning, do let me know.



My Random Musings

12 comments:

  1. Lovely photos. I often get up at the crack of dawn (or earlier thanks to my feline alarm clock) with the intention of photographing frosted plants but, for some reason, it just doesn't happen here. I think once, in nearly 30 years, I've got a photo of frost on a bay bush. There must be some weird climatic reason I suppose.

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    1. Cold air supposedly sinks downhill, so if you have a slope and the lower end of your garden is relatively open, that might explain it. If not, I don't know. We are quite sheleterd here in a small valley, which gives some protection but I think when it is cold enough for us to get frost it tends to hang around, its quite shady in winter.

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  2. Very nice pictures ! I didn't know that I could grow my hebe outside ... Is it especially for this variety? Mine is now still in pot and protected in winter because of frost. Good to know it can resist (a little)

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    1. Most Hebes are hardy I believe, unless they only stock the hardy ones in garden centres over here! The varieties I have certainly survive easily. I have had trouble keeping the little cushion type "Green Globe" going through the winter but i'm sure that's more due to the wet than the cold.

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  3. Frost looks good on just about anything, but in my garden, I'd say it looks best on my creeping thyme. Great photos, as always.

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    1. Thanks. Thyme is a good suggestion. I would have it in my garden but it never does that well, it doesn't seem to tolerate the wet winters at all. I tend to have it pots in summer, just so I can add it to whatever's cooking :)

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  4. Replies
    1. Yes it seems like winter is finally returning for a short stint, before we can fully embrace spring.

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  5. Love a every green shrub they really help and of course grass is lovely in the winter. we have Viburnum Tinus and the little flowers over winter have been a joy #bloggerclubuk

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    1. Hi. Yes we need some green to get us through winter, but ironically, it all looks rather nice when turned slightly grey by the frost! I love the viburnums too, and am in a running battle with viburnum beetles to keep them looking good!

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  6. Greenery around the house certainly is stunning in the frost! We have had a very frosty winter this year and I've enjoyed how beautiful everything looks! Thanks for joining us at #BloggerClubUK

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    1. We haven't had that many frosts, it just keeps raining! But it makes it more special for being less frequent I think. A few weeks of rain and I'm longing for a crisp dry icy morning, but don't necessarily want to be freezing every day for months on end :)

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