Don’t forget the pink carpet! The changing season can still be a time for bright beauty.

  • Nigel Colborn believes that a garden must be well designed to keep winter interesting. 
  • It suggests well-placed features, such as hedges, clipped evergreens, and pergolas
  • A UK-based gardening expert claims that bergenias have huge winter value  

It’s normal for your garden to look sad this weekend. The days are getting shorter, trees are dying, and summer flowers have disappeared.

It can be quiet beautiful, like the slow movement of a symphony.

The Gulf Stream allows gardens to remain a joy well into December thanks to its ability to keep them green and lush. Winter bulbs will be awakened by this time and snowdrops are on the horizon.

Good design and skilled planting are essential to retain winter interest. Attractive features like hedges, pergolas, and clipped evergreens can be strategically placed. Juicious planting is also important, especially in the darkest days.

Splash of pink: Cyclamen hederifolium flowers add charm to any winter garden

Sparkling pink: Cyclamen.hederifolium flowers add elegance to any winter garden

Between now and January, flowers will be scarce. But winter foliage brings quieter beauty. Low light can make variegated or patterned leaves stand out. Winter shapes can be created by trees or shrubs that are not leafy.

Late autumn brings unexpected surprises. My rough grass is decorated with violet-mauve crocuses. In other places, leafless autumn snowdrops bloom among fallen leaves. Both would thrive in containers.

You can keep interest as autumn edges decline with a few late blooming flowers. Late features that are striking include pink nerines and Hesperantha coccinea, which are flowering plants. 


Bergenias are a great winter plant, creating evergreen carpets. They are native to Siberia, and their leaves are completely weatherproof. Varieties such the Dark Damsel or Bergenia Eroica become dark bronzed in winter. Others remain green.

Brunnera Cordata, Siberian bugs, produces clumps that have heart-shaped leaves. These leaves last into winter. In spring, new foliage emerges, soon joined by misty sprays full of tiny blue flowers. B. Silver Heart features silver-grey leaf marks.

Like Brunnera and other forget-me not relatives, lungworts can also be confused with Brunnera. Pulmonaria Saccharata, the most famous, has oval leaves that are silver-grey. From late winter onwards, pink flowers open every day and turn blue as they mature.

Pulmonarias look great as border plants. They can also be used as ground-covers between shrubs, or when teamed with spring bulbs. Evergreen ferns, epimediums, and heucheras are all good winter carpeting plants. Sweet violets can also be found between shrubs and under trees.


Cyclamen hederifolium is a hardy perennial that will bring winter charm to your home. Cyclamen Hederifolium, the easiest, has pink-colored flowers. These are almost over, but their leaves are just starting to mature.

Many have striking patterns in silver, green and grey. Some are subtly marbling, while others are uniform pewter.

The delicate pink flowers that make up Cyclamen cilicium’s Cyclamen cilicium have begun to peak a little later. They will continue to bloom until November with their patterned, kidney-shaped foliage through the spring.

Cyclamen coum is strictly a winter plant. They are currently budding but will peak at snowdrop season to finish in spring. These tiny boat propellers look like the short-petalled flowers. They are typically bright pink, but they can also be white or paler. The majority of the flowers have dark centers that are carmine.

If they are happy, all cyclamens will self-seed and multiply, transform your winter garden.