Lighten The Gloom

March 6, 2012

A garden never has to be dull and uninteresting even during the dull months of winter. By adding form and texture to your garden, together with a good planting plan with garden structures, there really is no excuse why any garden cannot give all-year interest.

As a rule (although rules can be broken) it is a good idea that one third of a garden be planted with evergreens as this gives form and texture throughout the whole year and is the back bone structure to the garden.

When planting evergreen shrubs or plants, take a look at the form and texture of the leaves as well as looking at the whole plant itself. Foliage can sometimes create more of an impact than flowers, which is very useful in the garden in winter.

For example, the bold architectural leaves of the Fatsia japonica or the sword shaped leaves of the Phormium tenax, can really be striking.

Also by planting different textures of foliage together with for example large bold smooth leafy plants together with small leafed and fine spiky grass-like foliage you can really add contrast and a professional look to your planting scheme.

Topiary is another good example of form, shape and texture. For a winter garden when there is less growing, I think topiary in a well-planned garden adds a certain elegance and interesting structure.

Other ways of creating interest in the garden in the winter are with garden structures themselves. Arbours or pergolas really do give vertical interest and as deciduous climbers die down during the winter months, any decorative trellising underneath will come into its own and become a focal point in itself.

Such structures used in conjunction with large pots or garden statutes can make an otherwise plain garden very striking during the otherwise drab winter season.

In my own garden I use form and texture a lot. For example by using drift wood and large rocks, which otherwise during the summer get lost in the planting, my garden takes on a different and interesting character as the seasons change.

Also as the days get darker earlier, by using soft garden lighting, these objects take on a different dimension as the sun goes down.

So you see, you don’t really have to have only one garden; by forward planning and careful design you can have a number of gardens within the same space, each coming into its own as the seasons change.

Just because we are now huddled indoors doesn’t mean that our gardens have to be boring and ignored, just add some winter interest with form and texture and see what designs you can come up with.



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