Brighten up the dull days of winter by adding vibrant shots of colour to your garden.

Choose:

  • Evergreen shrubs, especially varieties with colourful variegated leaves like those of Holly or Pieris, or red-flushed leaves like Leucothoe.

  • Shrubs with beautiful berries, like Skimmia with its glossy red berries or Cotoneaster x suecicus ‘Coral Beauty’ (orange-red berries).

  • Shrubby dogwoods (Cornus) with their brightly coloured young stems are invaluable for winter interest. Choose Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ and C. alba ‘Baton Rouge’ with bright red stems, C. sericea ‘Flaviramea’ and C. sericea ‘Bud’s Yellow’ with yellow stems and C. sericea ‘Cardinal’ and C. sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ with stunning orange-red stems. Cut back hard annually in early spring for best results.

  • Shrubs that flower in the depths of winter like Witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) and Sweet box (Sarcococca confusa or S. hookeriana). To enjoy their sweet scent, plant these shrubs close to the front door or path edges. For impact choose exotic-looking Mahonia x media with its sunshine yellow flower spikes throughout winter.

Reminders for January

  • Plan the vegetable plot for the coming season, include crop rotation for best results. 
  • Tidy sheds and wash pots, trays, labels, etc ready for spring. 
  • Clean moss and algae from slippery paths, treat wooden decking and furniture with preservative. 
  • Check fences, sheds and walls and repair if necessary. 
  • Stay cosy indoors, browse through seed catalogues and dream of the growing season to come.