Here’s a roundup of team JPA’s top picks for plants that will make your winter garden jolly!
Arrowwood ‘Dawn’ - Virburnum bodnantense
Banishing the winter blues, this very hardy shrub offers a lovely display of fragrant, pink and long-lasting flowers during the coldest months.
Witch hazel - Hamamelis
This bush warms up the garden with a combination of a festive, spicy scent and a dazzling burst of spidery yellow or orange flowers.
Golden alder - Alnus incana ‘Aurea’
It might look delicate but this delightful ornamental tree copes with damp conditions better than most. It offers a glittering contrast of golden foliage and bark, and long pink catkins (male flowers) – which can appear as early as August and hang on right through until spring. As a bonus, its ‘false cones’ provide useful winter nutrition for birds and bees.
West Himalayan birch - Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’
As its name suggests, this tree survives beside the highest mountains on earth so thinks nothing of a bit of British winter weather! This ornamental variety boasts a very attractive, angel wing-coloured bark which adds a lovely touch of the nativity to the Christmas garden.
Tibetan cherry - Prunus serrula (above)
A little tree that keeps on giving. Even when it isn’t flowering, it boasts a very tactile, mahogany-coloured bark which glows like a conker even in the weak midwinter sun. This makes it not only a visual treat but a great reason to don the woollies and walk outside to touch it.
Goat or pussy willow - Salix caprea
This resourceful tree adds colour to a bare garden with its beautiful, furry catkins. It’s more than just a pretty face, however: its foliage was once used as a winter feed for cattle and it makes wonderful firewood. It has even been used in traditional medicine for pain relief.
Common dogwood - Cornus sanguinea
Warm your heart with this shrub, which is often called Winter Flame. Its leaves turn orange-yellow in autumn but when they fall, this gorgeous plant more than compensates with striking red-tipped, orange-yellow winter stems.
Silk-tassel bush - Garrya elliptica
As long as it has a wind-break, this defiant bush clearly thrives in wintry conditions, and is draped in impressive, long catkins at the end of the year.
Laurustinus – Viburnum tinus
This shrub offers a winter treat with its dense, dark green leaves, and tiny, white, star-shaped flowers which display from December to April.
Japanese skimmia - Skimmia japonica
As happy with frost as drought, this tough little shrub flowers in winter with small, white/cream, fragrant male flowers which grow in appropriately snow-ball shaped clusters.