During the winter months, many people think their gardens are messy and devoid of life. But this doesn’t have to be the case. While many plants lack leaves and flowers during Winter, there are various species that flower at this time and will even maintain their foliage during these colder months. Depending on the type of garden you have, there are plants you can grow which provide beautiful winter interest to add a bit of colour and intrigue to your garden, such as the colourful stems of dogwood species (Cornus). Perhaps you would like a little fragrance in your garden during this time? The delicate flowers of evergreen species like Sarcococca are highly scented and add a new element to the ambience of your garden.
Understandably, this is a difficult time of year for wildlife, particularly birds, as food is usually very scarce. A great way to help birds survive the winter is by having plants that produce fruit and provide shelter during winter.
Winter interest & Wildlife plants
Plants which enhance your garden over winter can turn a dull lifeless garden into a vibrant oasis of natural beauty and wildlife during these colder months. Here are some examples of plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife during winter.
Silver Birch (Betula spp.)
The dainty catkins that these trees produce provide not only seasonal interest, but also food for birds during the winter months.
Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster spp.)
The flowers of this shrub are a great source of food for pollinators in summer, while the berries provide food for birds from autumn through to winter.
Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)
The seed heads of this species not only provide architectural interest but also provide food for goldfinches.
Ivy (Hedera helix)
When flowering in autumn, Ivy provides an abundance of nectar for pollinators, while the berries produced after ensure a wealth of food for birds during the winter.
Holly (Ilex spp.)
The spiny foliage protects birds from predators while the berries provide them with sustenance.
Firethorn (Pyracantha spp.)
This striking shrub provides an abundance of berries for birds while also providing flowers for insects during spring & summer.
Elder/Rowan (Sorbus spp.)
The many varieties of these trees will provide berries for birds to feed on.
Even if you do not have any winter interest or wildlife friendly plants in your garden, this time of year is ideal for preparing your garden for spring. Whether that be pruning trees and shrubs or raking leaf drop onto your beds to use as mulch. This time of year is also a great time to plant woody plants such as Silver Birch (Betula), Cotoneaster and Pyracantha.
Winter gardening tasks
Below are a few examples of garden jobs that can be done during winter, whether that be by yourself or by your gardener:
- Pruning (for many plants, wintertime is the best season to prune for vigour, health or architecture. You can read more about winter pruning in our winter pruning blog post)
- Mulching (I love mulching! Whether it be to insulate the soil during these cold months or to add nutrients to the soil, it’s that extra touch that your garden will appreciate come springtime)
- Potting up springtime bulbs (If you missed the opportunity to plant some bulbs ready for spring, now is a good time to pot some up in planters. These will not only add a splash of colour in spring, but can provide nectar for emerging insects such as bees and butterflies)
- Constructing beetle banks/bulges, ready for planting in spring. Beetle banks provide shelter for beetles and other predator species helping to control more damaging insect populations, such as slugs.
By taking care of these garden jobs during winter, you are giving your plants the best start for the next growing season. If you require any advice or support or would like some of these winter maintenance jobs carrying out by one of our gardeners then do not hesitate to get in touch with us.