Your guide to the Garden in Winter, a true story of colour and scent as told by award winning Garden Designer David Keegan.

Published by David Keegan 1 month ago

Award Winning Garden Designer David Keegan Tells Us What To look Out For In The Winter Garden

At this time of the year when it’s cold grey damp and miserable outside it may seem there's not a lot happening in the garden. In fact, at this time of the year the garden is filled with the scent of viburnum, witch hazel and Sarcococca to name but a few. Coupled with this there is a profusion of winter flowering bulbs with daffodils now also beginning to poke through the soil. Multi award winning garden designer David Keegan gives us the lowdown on what to look out for in the winter garden.


Shrubs & Perennials

Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum):

This deciduous shrub boasts bright yellow flowers that bloom in winter, adding a cheerful touch to the garden. Its vigorous growth habit makes it an excellent choice for ground cover or cascading over walls.

Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima):

Known for its intensely fragrant, creamy-white flowers, winter honeysuckle blooms from late winter to early spring. Its sweet scent attracts pollinators, and the plant is valued for its adaptability and ease of cultivation.

Mahonia (Mahonia spp.):

Mahonia, with its spiky evergreen leaves, produces fragrant yellow flowers in winter. This shrub provides both texture and colour during the colder months, and some varieties bear attractive blue-black berries.

Heather (Calluna vulgaris and Erica spp.):

Heather is a hardy evergreen that adds texture and a pop of colour to winter gardens. With varieties that bloom in shades of pink, purple, and white, heather thrives in acidic soils and is a great choice for adding ground cover.

Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata):

This deciduous holly species is renowned for its vibrant red berries, which persist through the winter. The berries not only provide a burst of colour but also serve as a valuable food source for birds.

Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana):

Pansies are resilient annuals that can withstand cold temperatures. Their vibrant and cheerful faces add a splash of colour to winter beds, containers, or borders, making them a popular choice for winter interest.

Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.):

Cyclamen, with its unique and attractive flowers, is a bulbous perennial that blooms in late winter. The nodding flowers come in shades of pink, red, and white, providing a charming accent to shaded areas.

Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger):

As its name suggests, the Christmas Rose produces white or pink flowers during the winter months. This evergreen perennial thrives in shaded areas and is known for its early bloom.


Winter Blooms and Bulbs:

A testament to the resilience of nature, the winter garden is also adorned with a profusion of blooms provided by winter-flowering bulbs. Award winning garden designer David Keegan sheds light on the charming interplay of colours and textures brought forth by these resilient plants. As daffodils begin to poke through the soil, signaling the arrival of spring, David's insights guides us in appreciating the subtle nuances of these early bloomers, adding a burst of vibrancy to the winter palette.

Snowdrops (Galanthus):

Snowdrops are among the first to bloom, often appearing even in late winter. Their pure white, drooping flowers are a symbol of the approaching spring. These bulbs naturalize well and can form lovely carpets of white.

Crocus (Crocus spp.):

Crocuses come in various colours, including shades of purple, yellow, and white. They bloom early in the year, sometimes even pushing through the snow, and provide a delightful burst of colour.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis):

With bright yellow, cup-shaped flowers, winter aconite is a charming bulb that blooms in late winter. It's known for its resilience and ability to thrive in woodland settings.

Iris Reticulata:

These small but vibrant irises bloom in late winter to early spring, offering shades of blue, purple, and yellow. They are well-suited for rock gardens or as accents in containers.

Daffodils (Narcissus):

While you've already mentioned daffodils, it's worth highlighting their importance. Daffodils come in various shapes and sizes, and their cheerful yellow, white, or orange blooms signal the transition from winter to spring.

Winter Scilla (Scilla siberica):

Siberian squill produces small, star-shaped flowers in shades of blue. These hardy bulbs naturalize easily and create a carpet of blue blooms in late winter.

Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa):

As the name suggests, glory of the snow produces star-shaped flowers in shades of blue, pink, or white. These bulbs bloom early in the year, often before the snow fully melts.


Hopefully this article has inspired you the reader to get out and discover how the winter garden transforms from a seemingly dormant landscape into a captivating haven of scents and colours. As a garden designer embracing this diverse array of winter-flowering plants and bulbs, plays an important part of DK Garden Designs philosophy of weaving together a tapestry of plants that captivates the senses and nurtures the soul. As we navigate the cold months, let us draw inspiration from award winning garden designer David Keegan's expertise and infuse our gardens with the magic of winter blooms and scents. Should you need help planning the design of your garden to include winter colours and scent why not use the contact form at this link to get in touch with the team at DK Garden Design today. 

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