Green Patrol: Winter White
As winter approaches it is time to focus on what will be left in your garden once most of the green foliage has gone. Using white stems and bark is a clever way to bring light and interest into the garden. Not only does bright white cheer up a grey day, but it also looks fabulous at dusk. Deciduous silver birch trees provide summer foliage and peeling papery white bark all year round. Betula utilis var. jacquemontii is the architects’ favourite. With its neat upright habit and a stark white trunk, it is often planted alongside contemporary architecture, but equally looks at home in country gardens. You could try planting the white-stemmed bramble, Rubus thibetanus, or Rubus cockburnianus Golden Vale with its white stems and vibrant yellow foliage. These brambles sprawl like unruly thugs in summer, but when the leaves drop away the arching white stems look ghostly and magical in the winter light. Try them at the back of a deep border, when they can come into their own after everything else has died back, or train them as a wall shrub. To make the most of the white bark or stems, use garden up-lighters to highlight them after dusk.
Photographs © Harriet Worsley