What is a Winter Garden?
A garden area created for winter interest which includes a wide range of shrubs with coloured stems and bark, including oranges, black, silver, reds, yellows, and greens. The garden is also likely to contain winter flowering and scented shrubs. It may also contain evergreen trees, grasses, and winter flowering bulbs. There are also gardens and arboretums which have extensive winter interest.
Our guide features 30 gardens around the British Isles which can rightly be designated as Winter Gardens or with winter interest, just right for garden visitors and plant lovers.
We take a more detailed look at 3 of the best Winter Gardens.
University of Cambridge Botanic Garden, Cambridgeshire
This is likely to be the first specially created Winter garden dating back to 1979. You will see coloured stems, bark and foliage texture with winter flowers and fragrance which last until mid-spring. The garden looks at its best on a bright winter day and is a photographer’s delight especially with a seasonal coating of frost. Image courtesy University of Cambridge Botanic Garden.
Hillier Garden, Hampshire
The Hillier Garden near Winchester has one of the largest areas devoted to a Winter Garden and covers 4 acres. There are over 650 plants grouped together carefully in Island Borders, giving brilliant colours from November to March. The planting features a palette of bark, bold coloured stems, scent and foliage. Close to the Visitor Centre is a large new bed planted with Salix (willow), Cornus (dogwoods) which look brilliant in the late afternoon sun. There is also extra height and shape provided by some beautiful evergreen trees. (image Great British Gardens)
Dunham Massey (National Trust), Cheshire
This is one of the more recent Winter Gardens dating back to 2007 and designed with the help of Roy Lancaster. Previously it was a horse paddock. It is now one of the largest Winter Gardens in Europe covering 7 acres and includes over 1,600 plants, shrubs, and trees. Thousands of bulbs have been planted including Snowdrops, Irises, and Cyclamen that can be seen from the many paths which wind through the garden. Image courtesy National Trust.