Garden Design


Plant of the Month

December 4, 2018 by James Cooper

The aim of any landscape designer is to create a garden which looks good all year round – not an easy task.  As one of my greatest influencers, Piet Oudolf said “A garden is exciting for me when it looks good throughout the year, not just at a particular time.  I want to go outside and for it to be interesting in all weathers, in early spring and late autumn

Plant structure for the winter garden

Oudolf’s philisophy was to resist the temptation to cut perennials and grasses down as soon as they show signs of dying in the autumn and use this changing structure as a feature.  Many grasses such as Miscanthus, Calamagrostis and Pennisetum make a spectacular show when covered in early morning frost – something we at JJ Designs use repeatedly in our planting schemes.

Many perennials can be left to show off their beautiful winter silhouettes too, including Sedums, Rudbeckias and Echinaceae.

Holding these grasses and perennials together it is important to make use of structural evergreen plants.  We are particulary fond of clipped cones of Box, Yew and Holly in our planting schemes.

Using the structure of evergreen shrubs in the winter garden.

Bamboos are especially attractive in winter and many evergreen varieties bring a new texture to this green tapestry.  Their long and thin leaves are often paler green than those of surrounding evregreen shrubs.  Trembling and rustling in the wind, they become transformed when coated in frost.

So, before you cut your perennials and grasses down in autumn, maybe it’s time to let them show what they can do in the winter.