Winter may traditionally be thought of as a time of decay in the garden, but by planting frost friendly plants and (especially those with interesting colours of bark and foliage,) you can create plenty of reasons to still brave the garden during the colder months.

The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, located next to our Braishfield Plant Centre near Romsey in Hampshire, is a fantastic source of all year round planting inspiration.

Gorgeous Winter Garden Combinations

A fabulous planting combination which will bring high level interest as well as being low maintenance in your garden during winter is a mix of Acer, Helleborus, ferns and plants with attractive winter foliage like Corydalis. This combination works equally well in small gardens or even in containers, as it does in larger spaces.

Hellebores 'Wintergold'
Hellebores ‘Wintergold’


Winter flowing Hellebores are ideal for brightening a shady corner of the garden with their combination of delicate appearance and hardiness. There is a huge variety of Hellebores available. For a guarantee of excellent breeding, we recommend varieties from the Helleborus Gold Collection, bred by the German family run nursery, Heuger, as they have all been put through stringent tests of quality before being admitted into the collection.

A selection of Helleborus varieties are also known as ‘Christmas Rose’ due to their usual flowering time. These are a superb species found in the central southern european mountains (Switzerland, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Italy). Forms like ‘Wintergold,’ ‘Jonas’ or ‘Joel’ are all top choices.


Helleborus 'Wintergold'
Helleborus ‘Wintergold’


Winter Garden at Ground Level

For ground level company, combine Helleborus with ferns, such as Polystichum tsussimense, which offer attractive feathery texture along with an all year round vivid green. Many spring and summer flowering plants also continue to offer attractive green foliage through the colder months, like Corydalis elata with its vibrant fringed leaves.

Polystichum tsussimense

Polystichum tsussimense

Corydalis elata

Acer pensylvanicum ‘Erythrocladum’



A brilliant all year round tree is the Acer. The foliage may be gone in winter, but many varieties maintain outstanding colours and textures of bark. Acer pensylvanicum ‘Erythrocladum’, for example is a medium sized maple. It has spectacular red-orange bark with white stripes.

Acer palmatum varieties are slow growing and perfect for the smaller garden. ‘Sango Kaku’ is a classic variety with striking orange-red winter stems. Newer introductions such as ‘Bi-Hoo’ (yellow) and ‘Going Green’ offer a great colour palette for winter in your garden.

For more information about Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, click here

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