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I'm pretty new to gardening and only this year graduated from pots to actually digging out a proper bed. All summer I have had Poppies, Sunflowers, Cornflowers and Lavender in this new flower bed.
It is at the front of the house in full sun and heavy clay soil. I have no idea what to do with it over the winter so it looks pleasant. I want to plant something in it to keep the colour and I have been thinking of pansies and crocuses plus daffodils and such like.
I was also thinking of one of those red dwarf dogwoods but I wouldn't want it to be in the way of summer flowers next year.
Can anyone give suggestions?
I have attached two photos. One of the bed when it was first planted and one taken yesterday.
A bed in winter will never look as good as a summer bed, but with careful planning you can have something in flower most of the year, though not very much in winter. Bulbs are a good bet, starting with snowdrops and chionodxa (Glory of the Snow). To bulk it out a bit, especially if there is a bit of shade, hellebores - but the leaves will still be there in summer. Violas are lovely, planted in the autumn they will be a mass of flowers once the weather starts warming up. Here is a link to the RHS page on Daphnes some of which flower in winter, smell wonderful and aren't too big.
Thank you Busy-Lizzie
I got that page on Daphnes and they look ideal for me. I especially like that they are fragranced as i walk past the spot to get to my car.
That's all great information
I forgot the link! http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?PID=727
Ok, dogwoods are good choice.....but go for yellow leaved variety, Aurea. And green and white variety, Elegantissima. You get foliage colour in summer and those red stems from autumn to spring. Cut them bard back in spring.
You gotta have hellebores......try to get some mushroom compost in the planting holes. Range of colours from white to yellow to red to pink, sIngle and double flowers and evergreen lush foliage.
Test your soil.....see if it's acid or alkaline. This is easy amd cheap to do but essential. When we know what your soil is we can suggest the right sort of shrubs. For example hydrangeas would look good there but if your soil is acid go for a blue variety. If soil is alkaline go for a red variety.
Look to foliage for colour too. Heucheras look good over winter with fantastic evergreen foliage, blue grass elymus magellanicus is a brilliant metallic blue colour, acorus Ogon is an evergreen yellow "grass" and ophiopogon nigrescens is an evergreen black "grass. Campanula dicksons gold makes a yellow evergreen mound. Carex buchanii is a foxy red coloured upright evergreen grass. How about winter flowering heathers? They flower in winter and many have coloured foliage too. Phormiums are grass like plants in evergreen reds, yellows and greens and make impressive structural impact. Could go on forever but euphorbias are good too......some have evergreen purple/red foliage, some green and white foliage and they have yellow spring flowers too. Loads to consider for a brilliant winter garden
Its sometimes nice to have some evergreen structure left when all the perennials die down - I have some box balls in my flowerbeds that disappear in the summer (because they are hidden by other plants - not because they have magical powers) but come in to their own in the winter. They look great in frost and snow.