Home Life Backyard garden tips: How to cheat winter

Backyard garden tips: How to cheat winter

by Mary Sewell

Mid-winter, gardens don’t always fare their best. Trees are bare, foliage has died, and wet weather can leave them abandoned for weeks. However, garden designer Brenton Roberts sees it differently and says there are ways to make a winter garden look just as beautiful as a spring one. Using the correct elements and a garden in winter can create a stunning impact via silhouette, structure, and color.

His Adelaide Hills garden is a delightful example.

Bare branches are elegantly splayed against walls, and along trellis wires, decaying straw-colored foliage allow shapes to stand out. A series of levels and green layers provide a tapestry of textures.

The passionate gardener, which is not his full-time job, has also grown a healthy Instagram following as many observe his garden’s journey through the seasons.

Established as it is, it’s hard to imagine none of it was here 10 years ago when his family of five moved into the five-acre Aldgate property in Adelaide when the garden was nothing more than a steep slope.

Stunning silhouettes

Now deciduous Manchurian pear trees line Brenton’s hillside driveway, and in winter, the tracery of these broad trees creates an elegant avenue of seasonal beauty. They formalize the garden with height and repetitive scale, acting as a backdrop for other parts. “Maintaining structure in the garden is really important during the winter months, particularly in those gardens inclined towards deciduous trees and perennial plants,” he says.

Pear trees espaliered in perfectly horizontal lines along the stone walls of his home, and a fig hedge, kept low along the path, are plants Brenton regularly tends to stay in order. The well-clipped branches, corkscrew topiary, and balls of English box appear high-maintenance, yet he says a quick trim keeps them in check.

“Structure and interest can also be achieved by using techniques such as espaliering and pollarding (removing upper branches to form a dense head) trees,” he says. “While these techniques can seem intimidating, time-consuming and potentially tedious, plants are forgiving, and the results can be quite spectacular and satisfying over time.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment