Ideas for Winter Beds and Borders

You won't want to ignore your garden during cool winter months after seeing these stunning flowers and plants.
By: DK Books - Garden SXS
Witch Hazel has Colorful Spiderlike Blooms

Witch Hazel has Colorful Spiderlike Blooms

Some shrubs, like witch hazel, bloom in winter with orange, yellow and red spiderlike blooms.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Gardens are often neglected in winter once most showy flowers have faded, but with the right plants, they can still be enchanting places at this time of year. Plants with winter interest often have special, rather subtle qualities, such as sweetly scented flowers, attractive stems, foliage, seedheads, berries, or structural shapes. 

Winter Flowers

Hellebores are among the best winter-blooming plants. Flowering from midwinter to mid-spring, these clump-forming evergreen perennials are easily grown in light shade in any good soil, and form good ground cover when planted in drifts. Other perennials with winter interest worth seeking out include mauve-flowered Iris unguicularis and Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’, with its white-veined leaves.

Transient Beauty

Frost and snow add an element of short-lived beauty to the garden in winter, often transforming it overnight. A light covering of snow or a hard frost can enhance structures, highlighting architectural features and plants and briefly changing the whole feel of a garden.

Showy Shrubs

Some shrubs flower in winter, such as witch hazel (Hamamelis) with its orange, yellow, or red spiderlike blooms. Other shrubs worth considering for their delicious scent include the honeysuckle and wintersweet, Chimonanthus praecox.

Scented Highlights

Mahonias are among the finest evergreen shrubs for winter, with their spiny foliage and sweetly scented yellow blooms, followed by blue-tinged berries. They are also useful for their architectural form, which makes them an attractive backdrop for other plants such as Euonymus, with its colorful fruit.

Graceful Grasses

The seedheads of some grasses will survive well into winter, providing a touch of unexpected grace to plantings, especially when dusted with frost. Translucent, they allow views through to plants behind, such as the fruit-laden branches of a crabapple (Malus).

Keep Reading

Next Up

Choosing Plants for Flowerbeds & Borders

Use tall wispy grasses and structural foliage plants to add focal points to borders and flowerbeds.

Ideas for Fall Beds and Borders

Let the vivid, rustic colors of fall add a splash of life to your garden.

Family Planting: Herb Border

A herb garden is a feature the whole family can enjoy.

Preparing Perennials for Winter

A few basic cleanup steps in late fall will help your perennial beds thrive next growing season.

Cast-Iron Plant: Still Going Strong

This old-fashioned addition to the home or garden is tough to beat.

Ideas for Summer Beds and Borders

Say hello to sunny summer days with these colorful flowers and plants.

Ideas for Creating Spring Beds and Borders

Decorate your garden with these beautiful blooms for colorful spring flowers and foliage.

Winter Garden Preparation

Follow these tips to put your landscape and garden to bed properly for the winter.

How to Plant a Garden Border

Flower and shrub borders provide color, scent, and seasonal interest, making them an essential part of the garden.

Winter Container Gardens

Dress up a few containers with cool-season flowers, vegetables and herbs, to keep the color coming as winter arrives.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.