Last month I wrote about scent in the winter garden. This month the spotlight is on Winter Greens. Most perennials die back in the winter months but there are a few brave souls that soldier on!
Their green leaves add some welcome colour to winter borders and make an excellent foil for other plants including spring bulbs. These ground covering plants will help to keep the soil warm through winter and will suppress the spread of weeds that somehow still manage to grow!
I have singled out a few to talk about, but there are more you can choose from which will add some interest to your winter borders.
Saxifraga Urbium ‘London Pride’ this plant covers the ground with rosettes of green oval shaped leaves that have a frilly-edge. During the summer months this useful plant has masses of tiny star-shaped flowers of white to pale pink in colour. This plant tolerates shade but likes well drained soil so is ideal to plant under trees in rich humus rich soil.
Epimedium Versicolor ‘Neosulphureum’ this plant is perfect for the shady woodland border. It has attractive heart-shaped leaves which are often mottled with red or bronze along its veins. In springtime this variety produces stems of lemon yellow coloured flowers.
Phlomis Russeliana a favourite of garden designers because of its versatility in the garden border. This plant likes to be in full sun in well drained soil. In summer it has yellow pom pom like flowers that punctuate the length of the stem at intervals.
In winter this perennial plant if left alone to die back has seed heads that look very attractive and add interest for many months. At the base of the plant it has large green leaves that remain well into the winter months.
Bergenia cordifolia ‘purpurea’ this hard working plant is an excellent choice for all year round ground cover. It has large glossy leaves and produces spires of white, pink or crimson flowers during the spring. This particular variety has burgundy coloured leaves in winter. This tough plant will do well in most situations including dry areas.
Helleborus Foetidus also known as the stinking hellebore, but don’t let that put you off! It only smells if the leaves are crushed. This plant is well worth adding to your winter border for its versatility and visual impact.
It has long slender leaves and produces zingy apple green coloured flowers in spring. A good variety to look out for is ‘Wester Flisk’ that has a reddish tint to the stems.
And finally, Ajuga reptans ‘Atropurpurea’. This creeping plant has mats of glossy green foliage. This particular variety has purple leaves but if you prefer bronze foliage look out for ‘Catlins Giant’ which has bronzy-purple leaves or perhaps ‘Burgandy Glow’ which has silvery green leaves that turn a pinky-red in winter.
Ajuga likes to be in partial shade in a moist soil and in late spring produces stems of dark blue flowers.
Until next time Julie