Today the sun came out, so I went to Wisley RHS garden to carry out some research for a new design. The brief calls for a winter garden to be viewed from the kitchen (that all-important view: I spend hours staring into my garden while at the sink!)
I came to the conclusion that we have so many plants to choose from, the hard part will be deciding what to leave out. I will be planting for 'Wow-factor' and impact, whether for the eyes or the nose, using many of the plants I captured on camera today.
With the winter sun lighting up the stems of Cornus (dogwood) and the cinnamon bark of Acer Griseum, the planting beneath could be a mixture of early bulbs and flowering perennials. I would include cyclamen, early narcissi, crocus and snowdrops, adding pink and cream hellebores, acid green euphorbia and leathery leaved bergenias. The evergreen shrub Sarcococca confusa (Christmas box) can be pruned to rounded shapes, and has the added bonus of winter fragrance. Other fragrant shrubs include Daphne, Skimmia 'Kew Green' and Hamamellis (witch hazel.) Of course there are also other early flowering shrubs such as camellias, Prunus Incisa and Magnolia varieties, as well as the overwintering grasses that have become so fashionable. These add movement and texture to the winter scene.
My plant palette is coming together, now I need to make some decisions!