There is still plenty to see across Capel Manor Gardens this season. Take a stroll through the Gardens and you will see bursts of colour from a variety of fruits, berries, winter flowers, plants, shrubs and trees.
Our Head Gardener, Mark Cook, shares his favourite plants and trees for winter for you to admire during your next visit:
Crab Apple (Malus x Robusta ‘Red Sentinel’)
We have a variety of crab apples across the Gardens but a favourite of Mark’s is the ‘Red Sentinel’. This tree has interest all-year-round; with fragrant white spring blossoms in spring, and clusters of bright red fruit during the winter season which can be used to make jams, jellies and sauces. As well as providing food for us, these apples are an important source of food for birds and wildlife throughout the colder months.
Sacred Bamboo (Nandina Domestica)
Appearing in dense clusters of red berries during autumn and winter, the sacred bamboo is the gardening team’s top pick of shrubs for its bright and cheery colour against deep reddish-purple foliage. You can see these in abundance in our Low Allergen Garden.
Sweetgums (Liquidambar Styraciflua)
The Liquidambar trees are amongst the last to turn colours and drop leaves compared to other trees. They show a full spectrum of colour in the process with maple-like leaves on the same tree turning from green to amber to bright red. Here in the Gardens you can also see the “lollipop” variety which are shorter with a rounded head.
Japanese Mahonia (Mahonia Japanica)
This is an evergreen shrub holding onto large, dark, green leaves throughout the year, with fragrant yellow flowers from autumn to early spring. These delightful shrubs are add colour and a sweet scent to our Secured by Design Garden, alongside the colourful orange berries from the Firethorn shrub (Pyracantha Saphyr Rouge Cadrou).
Paperbark Maple (Acer Griseum)
Best to see in early winter, the paperbark maple has coined its name because of its interesting bark texture and burnt, orange-coloured leaves. When wandering through the Gardens look out for other unusual bark, stems from the eucalyptus in the Australian Garden, Tibetan Cherry (Prunis Serrula) with its bark tassels, and Dogwood Winter Beauty (Cornus Sanguinea) by Temple Lake. The Dogwood is our gardening team’s “plant of the month” exposing coral-coloured and red stems now its leaves have dropped.
Mistletoe (Viscum Album)
A winter wander in the Gardens would not be complete without spotting some mistletoe. Commonly found on apple and other fruit trees they are semi-parasitic, meaning they grow inside the tree rather than on it, feeding off the tree’s sap. They do offer some benefits by photosynthesising and putting energy back into the tree when its own leaves have fallen for the winter. Head over to the Walled Garden to find it.
Winter Flowering Honeysuckle (Lonicera Fragrantissima)
Stop by the Secured by Design Garden and you will find the winter flowering honeysuckle. A bushy, green shrub displaying fragrant, white flowers.
More winter flowers you can find in the Gardens are hellebores. Our Head Gardener Mark’s favourite variety is Helleborus x Hybridus, a particularly pretty type of hellebore due to interesting veining on the leaves. They are just blooming outside The Diana Legacy Rose Garden, about to bring a wonderful purple colour to the Gardens throughout mid-winter and early spring.
Due to our unusually, hot summer there are some new sights in Capel Manor Gardens this winter. Stop by The Australian Garden to see the eucalyptus in bloom, and nearby you can find kiwi fruit hanging from the vines by The Walled Garden. Head Gardener, Mark, has also spotted this season’s first snowdrop by Temple Lake, which is also home to Koi Carps. Usually flowering in February this could be an early-blooming autumn hybrid. Come back in late January to see them in abundance.
We offer private group tours of the Gardens. Guided by our experienced Gardens team you will be shown highlights such as details of the estate’s history, information of species of plants and flowers, and any areas of special interest. Visit our Garden Tours page for more information.