Two experts share their secrets to creating a gorgeous winter garden

Here are the must-have plants that bloom in winter

We take a walk through the majestic 12.5-acre garden of Wildenstein – the very place where Jesinta Campbell and Buddy Franklin famously tied the knot last year – and chat to the owners James and Keegan about winter plants.

Here are their favourites:


Although usually planted as a stand-alone tree, we tend to do things differently at Wildenstein. Simply by close planting, we have grown this hearty plant and with constant pruning and care, we have managed to curate this normally bushy shrub into the main feature of our famous garden hedge rooms. The dark leaf creates a perfect contrast against the smaller hedges and the fruit it bears in cooler months is utterly delicious and makes a delicious array of condiments.


Salvia is the largest genus in the mint family, represented by around 900 species of annuals, perennials, and soft-wooded evergreen shrubs which are found in a wide range of habitats. We absolutely adore these little, fuzzy stems and it is ideal for all seasons. The colour range moves through shades of blue to purple and pink to red, as well as white and some yellows. 

Handy Tip – Don’t pick these for a long-term arrangement. They just don’t last as long.


Red Hot Pokers 

Or in this case, Green Hot Pokers are grown mainly for their tall flower stems as they add height and interest to our garden beds. Topped with vivid bottlebrush-shaped heads of red, orange, yellow, cream, and sometimes green flowers, these plants are hardy and can handle the changes from cool to warm thus are perfect to any cooler climate garden. Red Hot Pokers can be found during Autumn, Winter and Spring.

Japanese Maple 

If only for the colour in the wintery months, this tree is nothing shy of spectacular. Usually grown for their magnificent displays in autumn, they come in a huge range of leaf shapes, leaf colours, and varying growth forms.


One of my favourite colourful petaled flowers which generally bloom from midsummer to first frost. These flowers love the cooler weather and show most colour and bloom through autumn. When planting dahlias choose a site with full sun. Dahlias grow and bloom more with six to eight hours of direct sunlight. They love the morning sunlight best. Choose a location with a bit of protection from the wind.

Handy Tip – When picked cut the stem tip at an angle and when filling your vase add a spoonful of white sugar to the water. The flower arrangement will last longer.


Most hydrangeas are finished and gone by May, however we have planted woodland around our hydrangeas to protect them and they bloom until the start of June when we prune them back. 

Handy Tip – If you cut the hydrangea just at the end of its prime time, place them in a vase with no water or create a bouquet and hang upside down. The flower will last as long as a year in dried formation. 


These little old-fashioned daisy-like flowers only boom in the cooler months, and we see them in abundance during winter. Asters provide much floor covering, suppressing unwanted winter weeds. They come in a plethora of colours and work best in sunny ground areas with minimal shade. Asters look fabulous picked and placed in little vases around the home.

Other Plants

Chinese Lanterns, and every green hedging are also great for cooler climate gardens.


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