The stunning winter walk at RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon is an excellent showcase for winter plants. “It’s all about striking a good balance,” says garden curator Jonathan Webster. “We use a mix of everything – colourful winter stems, trees with tactile bark and berries, evergreens and winter flowers for scent. In a small garden it’s important to create interest in all seasons, so your planting scheme works all year.
“We keep the National Plant Collection of stem cornus here at Rosemoor. We cut them back in early spring to encourage colourful new stems, and because they’re left as a knobbly stub it’s good to have them growing up through evergreens such as Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’. The red stems of Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ look very dramatic growing through its gold-variegated leaves.
“It’s also a good idea to position plants with colourful stems against
a glossy evergreen backdrop, to show off the outline and colour better. We use a wide range of evergreens in this role including Mahonia media ‘Lionel Fortescue’ and holly Ilex crenata.
“Conifers are another good choice for year-round structure. I really like the Japanese umbrella pine, Sciadopitys verticillata ‘Pygmy’; it’s a lovely small pillar shape with dark green foliage. Heathers help to jazz things up a bit; to soften the texture and add movement we use grasses such as Carex morrowii ‘Fisher’s Form’ and Stipa tenuissima.
“Paths meander round the garden and we like to plant fragrant shrubs next to them. Hamamelis intermedia ‘Pallida’, Daphne bhloua ‘Jacqueline Postil’ and sarcococca are all really good, offering visitors a nice surprise.”
LOCATION Great Torrington, Devon EX38 8PH OPEN Daily except 25 December, 10am–5pm. Adults £11, RHS free CONTACT 01805 624067;
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