GS Journal

Slow Living Series | Planting my Winter Colour Palette

What to Plant in your Garden Now & Enjoy over Winter

Summer is drawing to an end, and although our gardens may still be flourishing now, the flowers will soon fade away. I always think about planting for the seasons ahead, especially at the end of summer, but in the past I have never known what to plant. Over the past year, I have spent more time researching what I would like to grow in my garden, and the best time of year to plant these flowers. I’ve been following inspirational people on Instagram, such as Polly Anna Wilkinson who shares useful to-do lists for the weeks and months ahead. I would love to share my plans for all the flowers I am planning on planting now to enjoy over the winter months.

I am often inspired by my garden for the colour palettes of my collections – I like to sit with a coffee and my sketchbook, looking out at what is growing even during the darkest months often inspiring my colourful yarn marls and tweeds. So, here are seven winter blooms to plant now that will brighten up even the gloomiest days.


Hellebores are one of my favourite plants for brightening up my garden over the winter months, as they are a perennial which require little maintenance. They were also my wedding flowers, grown by my florist in her own garden. They flower from mid winter through to early spring with beautiful large flowers in a variety of white, pink and purple hues. Their foliage usually stays green all year round, adding interest to your garden even when they are not in bloom.
Buy young hellebores ready to plant from autumn through until spring. You can plant in early autumn, or wait until winter for more mature plants already in flower.


lI always look forward to my camellia bush bursting into pink flowers at the end of winter, heralding the change of the seasons. Some varieties will flower even earlier (from late autumn to early winter) in sheltered locations. There are many different varieties, producing red, pink or white flowers that can resemble anemones, peonies and roses. This year, the frost severely damaged my camellia in unexpected March frost, so I will be wrapping it in sheep’s wool fleece when the frost sets in this winter.
They must be planted in acidic soil, and are best added to your garden in autumn to establish their roots prior to winter.

Flowering from January to March, snowdrops are always a welcome sight at the beginning of the year. Introducing snowdrops into your garden is an easy way to have flowers during the darkest and gloomiest months, and they require very little maintenance. I love to see the flurry of white snowdrops in the fields surrounding our home, that little sign that the seasons are changing.
Plant snowdrop bulbs in October and November for beautiful displays from January.

Daffodils are technically a spring flower, but can burst into bloom as early as January to liven up your garden. They are usually imagined as bright yolky yellow flowers, but it is just as common to find white varieties with yellow or peach coronas. There are even rare pink daffodils if you are looking for something more unusual.
Plant in beds and containers in September. You can also plant forced bulbs such as paperwhites indoors in September to flower around Christmas.

Cyclamens are beautiful, jewel-like perennials that burst into flower in late winter. They grow well in pots or borders, and look particularly lovely mixed in with snowdrops. Available in pinks, reds, white and lilac, they are ideal for anyone who wants early colour in their garden. They are fully hardy, happy with any soil type and are the perfect plant to either fill gaps in your garden or fill containers with. Plant tubers in early autumn when they are in root growth.

Providing a carpet of colour in parks, on the edge of woodlands and in gardens from late winter until early spring, colourful crocuses bring a burst of joy to the beginning of each year. I particularly love them when there is snow on the ground and their vibrant petals poke through, reminding me of my tweed yarns. These yellow, white and purple flowers look at their best in volume, so don’t hold back on planting plenty of bulbs together for a more dramatic display. Plant from September to November in a sunny, open position.

Winter jasmines
Its flowers may lack the fragrant scent of other jasmine varieties, but winter jasmine is a wonderful addition to your garden for adding blooms and colour over the winter months. Growing on bare stems, the bright yellow flowers are a cheery sight from January through to March, grown as a climbing plant on walls that receive plenty of sunlight. Plant winter jasmine in September, using a trellis to train it up your chosen wall.


What to wear while gardening

As summer draws to a close, it’s important to keep warm when you’re out in the garden. If you’re cosy and comfortable, you’re more likely to want to stay outdoors for longer, planting and tending to your existing plants. I love being in the garden during the early autumn months, when I’m still picking flowers such as dahlias, cosmos and chrysanthemums, while planning my winter and spring garden. I always wear a wool sweater and accessories, as it is a magical fibre which keeps you warm when its cold and cool when its hot; perfect if you are really getting into hard labour such as digging. Our Elsi lambswool turtleneck is my go-to jumper when it’s chilly outside but I don’t want to wear too many layers – or the Aden lambswool rollneck for men. I find it easier to dig in the garden when I’m wearing a simple jumper, without a scarf getting in the way. A pair of fingerless lambswool gloves are perfect for keeping your hands warm while still being able to handle bulbs, plants and tools. Merino wool walking socks keep your feet nice and toasty – whether you’re wearing them with boots or Crocs. And finally, a lambswool beanie hat keeps your head warm.

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