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5 OF THE BEST WINTER GARDENS

Natalie French

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If you think winter gardens are all bleak, barren and lifeless, think again. Those who brave the cold conditions are rewarded with ruby red berries, exquisite white birch and, as winter unfolds, the first glimpse of the delicate snowdrop. And it's not just the flora that's out in force, there's also a plethora of fauna on offer for wildlife lovers.
Dunham Massey

Clamber out from beneath your blanket and check out Britain's largest winter garden. Dunham Massey is ready to impress with 1600 shrubs and over 700 species of plant. Marvel at beautiful berries, dogwood barks and a grove of striking white stemmed silver birch. And as the New Year rolls on, you'll find clusters of over 100,000 snowdrops poking their heads up through the earth.

Anglesey Abbey, Gardens & Lode Mill

While crisp sunlit mornings are the perfect time to soak up the frost-sparkled, pared-back beauty of the off-peak season, some gardens come into their own under the cover of darkness. For three weekends from the end of November, the Winter Garden and Riverside path at Anglesey Abbey will be illuminated by light – enhancing the natural beauty of the trees and shrubs and adding a magical beauty. Breathe in the sumptuously sweet-scented honeysuckle as you wander along the serpentine path, admiring the beautiful barks and coloured stems. Just don't miss the silver birch glade, which becomes even more breathtaking when lit. Winter Lights run on Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 29th November – 15th December, 5.30pm – 7.30pm. See website for ticket information.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses

Some folk just don't do the cold, but this doesn't mean you have to hibernate under the duvet all winter. The Glasshouses at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh offers a tropical haven to retreat to, whilst getting your nature fix. Lose yourself amongst towering palms, beautiful orchids and the world's richest collection of Vireya rhododendrons. The vibrant colours and scents will not only lift the spirits, they will also transport you around the globe.

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