Tucked into this protected site, the Winter Garden showcases plants that are at their best in winter. Many off-season flowering and foliage plants thrive in this site, protected by the large evergreen oaks and hollies that moderate cold, drying winter winds. The flowers of Camellia, Daphne, Cyclamen, and Prunus mume provide bright ever-changing color and fragrance. Variegated and gold-leafed evergreens glow even during the shortest days.
Plants adapt to winter in various ways. Many plants go completely dormant, when freezing temperatures stop their growth. Some plants remain physiologically active and prevent freezing by increasing the sugar concentration in their sap. Others remain mostly at rest but can open previously formed flower buds. Evergreen plants and conifers often rely on a thick waxy layer (cuticle) to prevent winter desiccation. Although at its peak from October through March, the Winter Garden is beautiful anytime of year.
Some of the fine plant specimens located in this garden include:
- Japanese flowering apricot – Prunus mume 'Rose Glow'
- Lenten rose – Helleborus ×hybridus
- dwarf Japanese cornel – Cornus officinalis 'Kintoki'
- golden paper bush – Edgeworthia chrysantha
- winter iris – Iris unguicularis