What Looks Good In The Garden In Winter?

Frosty Beech Tree. Photo via Pixabay.

When planning new flower beds or sprucing up a border in your garden, it is essential to think of all seasons when choosing plants.

During the course of winter, have a look at your space and see where you would need evergreen structure or winter blooms! Some bushes, trees, and plants keep their foliage all year round and continue to bring interest and colour to your garden.

Here are a couple of ideas of plants which look good in winter to add to your garden space.


Helleborus niger commonly referred to as Christmas roses are stunning perennials, usually flowering from December to March.

Their blooms come in an array of colours and their foliage stays green all year round. Resistant to drought once established. Best in part-shade.

I can’t have enough of these in my garden!

Helleborus HGC Cinnamon Snow flowering for me since October! (USDA zone 8). Photo by Author.


Camellias are small trees or evergreen shrubs. Their leaves are thick and glossy, bringing a striking texture to a winter garden. Camellia flowers are large and beautiful in colours commonly ranging from white to red. Blooms can be single, semi-double, or double much like peonies. Even when not yet in bloom, their buds are beautiful to look at.

Double flowered Camellia. Photo via Pixabay.

Camellias are fast-growing and happiest in acid and humus reach soil, so adding leaf mulch when planting is a good idea. It is best to keep them moist and protected from harsh winds.

Winter-flowering bulbs

Muscari, Snowdrops and Irises are among the earliest flowering bulbs in the garden (mid to late winter). It’s a stunning addition for any garden size for a burst of early colour!

Flowers bulbs are very easy to plant, why not give them a go?

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth). Photo via Pixabay.


Cyclamens are lovely to use in the garden but also make an adorable and easy to care for houseplant!

Don’t over-water them, they hate having yet feet. In the garden, they do well in containers or dry shade (under a tree or hedge for example).

As per all flowers, make sure to deadhead spent blooms to avoid seed production.

White Cyclamen used as a houseplant. Photo by Author.

Pansies and violas

Violas and pansies are one of the loveliest autumn and winter blooms. These cuties are extremely frost resistant and will go on for you from autumn until late winter: a perfect choice to fill a border.

Violas are also a great choice to top dress a container planted with spring-flowering bulbs until the blooms emerge.

White violas in a window box (still looking gorgeous in January). Photo by Author.


Sempervivums means ‘always alive’ and with good reason: these plants are extremely winter hardy and frost resistant, making them a popular choice for containers. They also handle well drought situations.

Their rosettes are beautiful and some change colour with low temperatures. Sempervivums are commonly called houseleeks.

Top tip: Don’t confuse these with their sub-tropical cousin which prefer the warmth of indoors!

Sempervivums in a container. The south-facing wall is giving them a bit of extra warmth. Photo by Author.

Berry-bearing shrubs

Berry producing shrubs are a must-have as they typically bring year-round yet varied interest: lovely foliage, as well as blooms, usually followed by berries.

If you love attracting birds and wildlife in your garden, this type of shrub is a good addition! Make sure to check whether the variety is self-pollinating (you will then only need one plant to have a berry production) or if you need a male and female plant (much like fruit trees).

Holly can be used as an edge in the garden but you have to keep its size controlled by regular pruning. Photo by Author.
Pyracantha shrub. These can be trained on a wall to bring vertical interest and their berry colour goes from yellow to red tones. Photo by Author.

Evergreen shrubs and trees

Shrubs such as boxwood are always a good choice as they bring structure to a garden, for example back-planted with limelight hydrangeas. Boxwood are great for trimming into shapes and topiaries: the perfect way to infuse your personality into a garden.

Firs are perfect for Christmas but lovely all year round too as they structure and weight to a border. I particularly love Blue Spruces although they can be prone to needle cast. A lot of fir varieties are rather slow-growing but you can also find dwarf specimens that are ideally suited for smaller gardens or container gardening.

The Marqueyssac Gardens (Dordogne Valley, France), home to 15,000 hand pruned boxwoods. Photo By Author.

How fun to be able to forage beautiful greens and berries from your garden for winter projects?

Seed heads

Of course, seed heads from late summer or autumn flowering perennials are both a source of food for wildlife but also add texture and interest in your garden (especially when covered in frost!) so why not delay your deadheading?

Frosty seed-heads had a lovely texture in the garden and are also a good source of food for wildlife. Photo by Author.

Architectural elements

An easy way to achieve winter interest in your garden is to introduce permanent architectural elements such as structures and art.

An affordable idea for smaller places, is to use plant stakes to introduce beautiful elements in your borders. If you have a larger area to play with, using obelisks, benches and arches can help you create different spaces in your garden.

Artichoke plant stake from Paul Cox Sculpture. Photo by Author.

Not sure where to start? Why not take a season to observe and make notes of what you like? A garden diary could help you.

Follow along my garden journey! ❤️ Instagram: @johannabobbio ❤️Youtube: Johanna Bobbio

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Johanna Bobbio

Johanna Bobbio

Follow along my garden journey! ❤️ Instagram: @johannabobbio ❤️Youtube: Johanna Bobbio

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