Gardens in the winter months can be hit and miss, and many are closed, but one of the most beautiful is the Savill Garden at Windsor Great Park.
Entrance is free throughout December, which makes it accessible, and with the arrival of an Edwardian carousel there’s an air of wonder and light.
The Savill Building is impressive, undulating across the entrance to the gardens, with a fluid, organic shape that echoes the landscape. Inside, the exposed struts of the beams allow you to see the geometry that forms the rise and fall of the roof.
We enjoyed the seasonal Gingerbread trail, which propelled us through the garden, with stamps to be collected positioned by the winter stars of the garden. We saw the twin oaks, one growing from the base of another, the wildlife that gathers around the pond, the masses of Bergenia’s with their elephant- ear shaped leaves and the tulip tree planted by the Queen Mother.
Once the leaves have deserted the trees for the winter months, negative space becomes the dominant theme throughout the garden. The shifting colours of the sky laced through bare branches affording glimpses of light and shade.
Colour is found in the swathes of Dogwood, bright reds and yellows, melting into orange along the length of the bare branches. While the Rhododendrons and ferns colour large areas with green.
The Temperate House also retains interest all year round, with its elevated iron walkway offering views of the lush greenery and a large vortex of water from above.
Decay can be beautiful too, and the eye is caught by the fading Hydrangea blooms and the tall dry grasses. The mass of Gunnera leaves cut down for the winter shelter the core of the plant, making a village of little houses.
Winter is a magical time of year, bringing the garden indoors and decorating trees to sustain us through the bitter months. But if you wrap up warm, and put on enough pairs of socks, there’s nothing better than a walk through a beautiful garden. And the warmth of a hot drink at the end of the day is all the more satisfying when it follows the chill that has touched cheeks and noses while you’ve been braving the outdoors.