Although winter weather may make gardening outside difficult, if you have a porch there are many ways to bring elements of your garden literally to your doorstep. In the process, it brings a welcome garden glow to your home’s entrance. Here’s how to brighten up even the drabbest, dreariest, winter’s day with ideas for your winter porch.
Many winter flowering shrubs have intensely scented blooms. Picking a stem just as the flowers are about to open and placing in a vase of water on a shelf should result in glorious scent in the porch area. This scent will be stronger if the porch is enclosed.
Some examples of winter flowering shrubs are winter flowering honeysuckle, sweet box and daphne.
These shrubs can also be grown in containers, so why not fill the air with one or two pots of these plants placed either side of your door.
It’s also possible to buy ready grown scented bulbs in pots such as hyacinth and miniature narcissus. This will bring pretty colours as well as exquisite scent to your door. Another benefit is that these can be planted in your garden after they’ve finished flowering.
Some plants, such as willow and dogwood, produce brightly coloured stems during the winter months.
Dogwood in particular have many different coloured stem cultivars that are easy to maintain. Planting a selection in the garden would bring winter cheer and colour to your garden. But you can also cut a selection of the stems to arrange in a vase on a shelf inside your porch.
The best coloured dogwood cultivars are:-
- Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ (bright red stems)
- Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’ (yellow, green stems)
- Cornus sanguinea ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’ (bright orange stems)
- Cornus alba ‘Kesselringii’ (dark purple/black stems)
Low growing flowers
Perennial plants like cyclamen flower for weeks on end. When they’re not in flower, they have very pretty leaves with varied attractive markings. Again, these can be planted outside when changing the display.
If your porch is enclosed, you would also be able to display more tender varieties of plants, such as orchids, to create a more exotic look.
If you want to create a restful, calming entrance to your house then fill the porch with a combination of topiary evergreen plants. For example, box balls, and conifer or yew branches draped artfully on either side. Maybe a small moss-covered log or two will give off an even more peaceful atmosphere.
Wreaths aren’t just for Christmas! In fact, some people make and hang wreaths on their front door at different times of the year.
Keep the base of your Christmas wreath and re-use. There are many different plant materials to dress it with during the winter months. Evergreen leaves from shrubs like laurel work well tied on with twine. Or if you’re near to a source of bracken or ferns, their winter bronze stems will give a completely different look.
If you’ve left the spent flowers of hydrangeas on your plant, you can remove some of them to dress your wreath with and spray them if you’re looking to add colour.
Dried flowers like helichrysum and limonium are once again fashionable. If you have or can get hold of some, they look charming tied on to the wreath.
Think weathered apple crates turned on their side with hurricane lanterns placed on top and hessian gently scrunched up inside them. Or a few silver birch logs stacked artfully in a corner and contorted hazel branches with catkins dangling prettily from them. These are cheap and easy ways to create a very stylish display.
Pick one of your favourite colours and dress the porch with items of that colour. Dead branches can be sprayed and displayed, coloured ribbon or twine added to the wreath, tea lights in coloured lanterns. Even a colour co-ordinated front door mat. These methods are simple but very effective.
Mirrored acrylic is an amazing product that is perfect for outdoor porches as it won’t crack or shatter. It’s also lightweight, making it very easy to fix or hang. Placing them behind any of your porch decorations will not only make the space feel larger, but also enhance your decorations.
With these ideas for your winter porch, you’ll be welcomed home by the cosy sight of plants and colour that are exactly to your taste. By choosing elements that match your interior design, you can have a home that’s seamless in its style.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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