Spending time outside and in a green space everyday can hugely improve our sense of personal wellbeing. Not all gardeners garden as such, some just grow stuff and that’s just as cool. Green spaces stimulate all the senses and we love the way that winter colour makes for a green and colourful escape from the winter drabness. Our top picks for winter colour are often Pansies but in reality the cooler winter months actually give us more choice than summer selections.
Research in the UK has shown that found that people who spend time in the garden are significantly more likely to report general good health, higher psychological wellbeing and greater physical activity levels than people who did not. In the technological and online lives so many of us interact with it is reassuring to be able to put your hands in the soil and to connect with the earth. The moment one starts to get some of the chores done then the physical wellbeing comes into play and core strength improves.
Colour too has great effects on our mood and assists in physical well being. As the winter rolls around the world gets a bit more drab and easily leads to the winter blues. Chase them away when you’re at home by surrounding your favourite views into the garden or onto the patio with colours that make your heart happy.
It can be as simple as placing a bowl of colour on your patio table or hanging a basket at eye height when you look out the kitchen window.
Always bringing a smile the fancy-leaved cousins of cabbage make a bold statement in the cool season garden. They are edible but are bitter so one would not grow them to eat but they make great companion plants in mixed plantings and always draw attention. They were developed as a winter colour leaf by hybridizing cabbage and cauliflower and after years of development we get the range of colours we have today. They are extremely cold-tolerant and need full sun to light shade. The more sun and colder the more compact they will grow.
Primulas of all sorts
Giant Primulas, Primroses as well as the well know Fairy Primula are long time favourites of a shady garden. They all take morning sun and afternoon shade through winter to a dappled shade all day. As a set they are super versatile and work well in containers as well as along garden borders. They have lush green leaves too so that adds to the overall freshness to the garden or patio. Don’t let them dry out too much as heat stress will finish of the flowers sooner. Feed them Multifeed Flowergro to promote even more flowers.
Colour does not only have to come from bedding plants in winter. The cold temperatures and frost colours a range of plants to striking shades of reds to burnt pinks. By far the most popular are the different varieties of Nandina which we believe no garden should be without. Also known as Sacred Bamboo they are incredibly versatile growing in sun and shade as well as making a striking container plant.
Nandina are evergreen and what makes them special is the colour they provide in the garden during all four seasons of the year. In the spring, the new foliage emerges as bright bronzed red and is soon followed by large panicles of creamy white flowers. Clusters of bright green berries replace the flowers and by late summer the berries will ripen to a bright red. The berries will remain until they are discovered and enjoyed by the local birds.