Planting / Winter

Top plants for winter colour

By Paul Hervey-Brookes

Wintersweet: Chimonanthus, whilst native to China, is a large shrub that carries a mass of cream or yellow flowers and has a sweet, sultry scent during winter months. Brighten up the dullest winter day with the promise of something exotic to come.

Witch hazel: The Hamamelis adds an amazing splash of colour on winter days along with a subtle, sweet fragrance. This plant flowers before its leaves are produced. Depending on the variety grown its blooms are orange, yellow or red. Or plant them all together for a riot of colour!

Scarlet Willow: Salix alba var. vitellina 'Britzensis' is grown for its stem colour of brilliant burnt red orange whilst other members of its family will give you yellow or near black stems. A big shrub for the garden. More subtle with raspberry-red slender stems is the Salix ‘Nancy Saunders’. Hard to track down but well worth it for most sized gardens

Winter aconite: Eranthus, which translates literally from Greek as 'first flower', this is the first true flower of the year! Popping up in woodlands and wild gardens this little gem has bright green leaves and even brighter egg-yolk yellow flowers.

Rosemary: not everyone’s choice but this really is an evergreen shrub, hardy in most gardens with a strong scent that reminds you summer is on its way.  

Tibetan cherry: Prunus serrula is a glossy appealing barked tree for any garden. This small tree has a beautiful burnished bark that glows in winter and its light canopy in the summer creates dappled shade.  

Nepalese paper plant: Or more commonly known as Daphne ‘Jacqueline Postill’ has lavish foliage and flowers in January producing waxy pink clusters of scented flowers. Ideal even for a pot, but rough treatment will yield a big beautiful plant.

Adding just one of these amazing winter focused plants will bring the outdoors to life for longer in the year and give you a great reason to sit out on the terrace on a bright winters day with a hot cup of tea.
Paul Hervey-Brookes
Meet the author

Paul Hervey-Brookes

Paul had his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks & Spencers.

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