Garden visit: Anglesey Abbey

The Winter Walk at Anglesey Abbey was conceived in 1996 to mark the centenary of the birth of the first Lord Fairhaven. The walk is best visited from late autumn through to early spring when the plants – chosen for their winter appeal – are at their best. The visitor can get inspiration for seasonal colour, scent and planting combinations from the array of trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and bulbs that are planted throughout the walk.

A golden willow Salix alba var. vitellina stands amid a group of Sarcococca shrubs and the stems of the coral bark willow illuminate the background.

The orange and red stems of the coral bark willow Salix alba var. vitellina ‘Britzensis’ rise above a mass of Sarcococca shrubs, including S. ruscifolia var chinensis and S. hookeriana var digyna.

The winter walk winds its way between hedges and trees on either side, and passes thickets of white stemmed ornamental brambles, including Rubus cockburnianus (above) and the fiery stems of red dogwoods Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ (below).

The acid yellow Luzula sylvatica ‘Aurea’ illuminates the side of the pathway ahead of a blaze of fiery dogwood stems. The black leaved Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ are in stark contrast to the Luzula foliage.

Here, the contrasting pinks, yellows and greens and complementary forms of this plant grouping make it a pleasing composition.

A broad sweep of Mahonia lend their presence and bold foliage to the planting. Featured species include Mahonia x media ‘Lionel Fortescue’, M. x media ‘Winter Sun’ and the lower growing M. aquifolium ‘Apollo’.

The twisted branches and catkins of the corkscrew hazel Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ introduce form and texture (above), whilst contrast is provided by the black grass Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ and the acid yellow of the Carex (below).

A billowing mass of cloud pruned Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’ envelope the branches and pink flowers of the Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ (above) and the yellow flowers of Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ and cinnamon coloured, peeling bark of the paperbark maple Acer griseum (below).

An interesting combination of Hamamelis, Luzula and Euonymus.

The classic seasonal colour combination of greens and reds displayed by the Mahonia.

At the end of the walk the visitor is greeted by a grove of dazzling white barked Himalayan birch, Betula utilis var. jacquemontii which provide a fitting finale to the Winter Walk.

For further information and visiting details visit

Photography: Garden Design Eye


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