Mainly we have chosen plants that are well suited to our soil and are hardy enough to withstand unpredictable cold winters. The garden has colourful foliage throughout the year, and flowers from early January through to December.
In winter, the red juvenile leaves of photinia ‘Red Robin’, red oriental ornaments and red stems of acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ contrast with the blue and yellow conifers and the yellow of several aucubas and ilex ‘Golden King’. Tree barks, including acer griseum, snake bark maples and serrula, give winter interest. A carpet of cyclamen coum accentuates the white bark of the multi-stemmed Betula Jacquemontii. Lighting in the trees creates a magical atmosphere, especially when plants are draped in snow. Late winter flowers include cyclamen, snowdrops, aconites, hellebores and early camellias.
In early spring, flowers include camellias, Tête-à-Tête daffodils, crocus and scilla, followed in April by erythroniums and tulips. In May azaleas provide a stunning display together with the new growth of conifers and acers. Other May flowers include anemone blande and muscari. Colour continues in June with foxgloves, aliums and lilies of various sorts.
In summer acers and evergreens provide the backdrop to display the riot of colour in the upper garden from begonia flowers. The perennials in the middle and lower garden include aliums, agapanthus, crocosmia, phlox, paniculata thalictrum and oriental lilies.
Autumn starts with the rich red colour of the Virginia creeper. This is quickly followed by the intense colour changes especially in the acers and azaleas. By late autumn the Japanese acer leaves have become vibrant with scarlet and gold colours and they serve as “autumn flowers”.