Garden of the Year judges reveal easy way to extend your garden into winter

Your garden doesn’t have to die a death in the cold weather, as experts explain

Wooden garden table with paved flooring
(Image credit: Future PLC)

The end of August is fast approaching, meaning autumn and winter will be here before we know it – and with it, the colder weather. Sadly for gardening fans, this often means the end of our colourful, blooming outdoor spaces, as the frost, snow, and dropping temperatures threaten to kill off many plants and flowers.

But according to award-winning garden designer Manoj Malde, and former young horticulturist of the year Lachlan Rae, who are judges on More4’s Garden of the Year – winter doesn’t have to mean the end of your garden ideas.

There is in fact a way that you can keep your green space bountiful until next spring arrives, say Manoj and Lachlan. How? By investing in certain types of hardy plants, that can last throughout the chilly autumn and winter.

garden featured in garden of the year

(Image credit: Garden of the Year, Channel 4)

Ways to extend a garden into winter

Choosing specific kinds of flowers and plants, Lachlan and Manoj explain, is key to keeping your garden looking lovely as the sunny days dwindle away. Manoj told us, 'I’d say, rather than a quick fix, select plants for your gardens or balcony gardens that are going to provide you with that additional interest as summer turns to autumn. Gardening is about thinking long term.'

When it comes to specifics, he recommends a few different varieties to ensure your outdoor space maintains as vibrant a look as possible. Manoj suggests planting:

garden with water feature and green plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)
  • Cornus Midwinter Fire—“One of my favourites is a dogwood called Cornus Midwinter Fire. Plant them in a group of about 3 or 5, and position them where they will be touched by the low winter sun, and they really will look like they are on fire.”
  • Loropetalum chinensis—”Loropetalum chinensis is a shrub that is not used enough. Its dark foliage makes a perfect backdrop to the masses of pretty pink flowers that adorn the plant in winter.”
  • Clematis urophylla 'Winter Beauty'—”This is an evergreen which produces lots of white bell like blooms during January and February.”

garden with chamomile

(Image credit: Crocus)

Lachlan also shared his suggestions for winter gardening and autumn gardening, saying, 'Autumn crocus and cyclamen will be coming into flower soon. Winter flowering shrubs like chimonthus praecox, sarcococca and viburnum tinus will also all add colour and interest through the bleakest months.'

And, if you have the space and time to plant trees ahead of the cooler seasons, what kind should you be investing in? According to Lachlan, 'Trees with interesting barks and berries like birches, Rowans and maples are great for winter interest, and can add a new dimension to gardens in the depths of winter.'

driveway with autumn tree

(Image credit: TBC)

Manoj also said, 'If I was going to choose a tree to provide autumn and winter interest then it would be one with both colour through autumn foliage and then bark interest through winter. The perfect option would be Prunus serrula tibetica that has rich glossy burgundy bark that looks like it has copper wire wrapped around it.'

We can't wait to get planting!

Garden of the Year is airing nightly for six nights from August 21st, at 9pm on More4. Catch up on All4.


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine