How a splash of colour in a winter-dulled garden can eliminate the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) blues
Oh the joys of Instagram. As a social media vehicle, it undoubtedly has its faults: psychologists say that as a rule we look at it when we are sad and post when we are happy, so when we see marvellous depictions of other people’s lives, it can affect our mental health negatively. But used as a research tool, it can be a positive inspiration, as we found today while the weather was wet, windy and raging outside.
Two photos stood out showing gardens with brilliant splashes of joyful colour. One featured garden designer Tania Compton’s garden at Spilsbury the other showed The Savill Garden at Windsor Great Park, part of The Crown Estate, which this year is celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Wonderful spikes of Salix alba 'Britzensis' of the White Willow family stood out strikingly in coral red against an otherwise winter-dulled backdrop and reminded us of how this popular plant can provide wonderful winter colour in our gardens.
Given it is something that is in Windsor Great Park, it made us think it could be a good option for a choice of tree to commemorate Tree-bilee. We have good stock of strong, fast growing Salix alba Britsensis - check out and where to plant it.
Top tip: Willows are great near water which means that for those of us who are climate change aware, it is a great plant for saving water in hot summer months: there is no need for watering cans or hoses as your lake or pond will do that for you. Dogwoods, one of our favourite winter plants, can also provide much needed colour to the winter palette.
Garden design idea: Tania Compton’s display is set off against huge footballs of evergreen box hedging. Her planting can sometimes defy convention. She has various elements of shade in her garden where notoriously sun-thirsty lavender can still thrive.