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Green Fingers in Winter

Down at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall, Bridget is thinking of re-naming her regular column ‘Frozenfingers’, as the temperature falls! 

The days may be shorter, and most of the leaves have fallen, but gardens can be full of interest in the winter months. There are many trees and shrubs with attractive bark, stems, berries and flowers. 

Many of the varieties of Betula (birch) have coloured barks ranging from chocolate brown to white. 

Prunus (cherry) serrula has a beautiful shiny copper bark. The scarlet stems of Dogwoods such as Cornus alba sibirica with varieties like Westonbirt and Cornus sanguinea Midwinterfire are stunning in the winter sunshine. 

Underplant your garden with early bulbs like snowdrops, Scilla and Aconites - the combination can be fantastic. Magnolia Stellata with its pure white flowers looks fabulous when underplanted with the gentian blue flowers of Scilla siberica. 

Berries are also good for wildlife. Viburnum Opulus with its translucent red berries is a lovely large shrub with white flowers in spring and beautiful autumn colours. Plant mixed native hedging with Holly, Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Dog rose, Spindle and Privet, these all have berries edible for birds. Trees with fruits include Malus (apple), Rowan (mountain ash), Ilex aquifolium varieties (holly) and Crataegus (hawthorn). 

There are not many urgent jobs outside at this time of year, so sit back and enjoy some time making plans to fill the garden with flowers and veg next season. If you have a small budget grow from seed. If you are wanting to plant bare root trees and roses, do it anytime the ground is frost-free before March. 

Finally, if you are struggling to choose Christmas presents for a gardener, here’s a few ideas! 

  • Packets of seeds. 
  • Horticultural books. 
  • Tools. 
  • Gloves. 
  • A kneeling pad. 
  • Soap or bubble bath. 

An offer of a day’s help in the garden – it won’t cost you anything! 

I hope you all have a happy Christmas and New Year.  


Bridget runs Caves Folly Nurseries on Evendine Lane in  Colwall (WR13 6DX). They are open from March until October, Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 - 5. You can contact them on 01684 540631 or visit their website: