Garden design solutions: 5 of our favourite shrubs for winter colour and interest
How does your garden look during the winter? Yes, we know that we are likely to spend much more time actually in our gardens over the spring and summer, but with so many properties featuring bi-fold doors or large windows looking out on to a garden it is good to have something pleasing to look at even if it is too fresh to actually go outside.
Most gardens could benefit from a few extra plants to provide a little extra winter 'boost', so here are five of our favourite shrubs for winter colour:
1. Cornus ‘Sibirica’ (Dogwood)
A rather anonymous shrub during spring and summer, Cornus ‘Sibirica’ really comes to the fore in the winter when its bright red bare stems offer wonderful colour and cheer. Best planted in small groups or clumps to provide maximum impact, it never fails to make me smile. The fresher growth has the brightest colour (the stems tend to turn brown as they get older), so I like to remove one in three stems every spring so as to encourage new growth without losing too much of the structure.
2. Hamamelis mollis (Witch hazel)
A wonderful large shrub that really is a must-have for those seeking a burst of optimistically bright winter colour. Bearing clusters of highly fragrant yellow flowers from mid to late winter, H. mollis is tolerant of most soils and is happy to grow in sun or partial shade. As an alternative, Hamamelis ‘Diane’ has lovely bright red flowers.
3. Mahonia ‘Charity’ (Oregon grape) (pictured above)
Mahonia ‘Charity’ is a medium-sized evergreen shrub I like to include on most planting plans. Its spiny leaves are reminiscent of holly and are borne on horizontal ‘tiers’ of stems, and this unusual and interesting growth habit makes it a really useful shrub for textural contrast as part of a mixed planting scheme. Clusters of bright yellow flowers appear throughout the winter, often followed by inedible blue-black berries (hence the common name of Oregon grape).
4. Sarcococca ‘Winter Gem’ (sweet box)
A smaller evergreen shrub, Sarcococcoa ‘Winter Gem’ has slender dark green leaves and beautifully fragrant winter flowers. Opening from red buds in early to mid-winter, the white blooms are delicate in appearance but are intensely perfumed. Small inedible berries usually follow, turning from red to black as they ripen.
5. Jasminium nudiflorum (winter jasmine)
A medium-sized deciduous shrub which definitely deserves a place in our winter gardens. With a proliferation of small but intensely yellow flowers covering its bare stems throughout mid-winter and early spring, J. nudiflorum is always a pleasing sight on a cold winter’s day. Unlike most other jasmines, this is an unscented variety but don’t let that put you off because it provides very welcome and long-lasting colour and interest.
Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.