Late winter showstoppers

Garden Planting Design Late Winter Showstoppers

Posted: 12/02/2015 in Planting

The start of the new year, the mid-winter slog-- no running out of reasons to turn to your garden for uplift and inspiration in January. Whether as seasonal perk-up or to steel the spirit for what's ahead, plants that put on the best happy faces this month are great comfort and cheer.

Think clouds of spicy colour brightening dusky days and Cornus sanguineum 'Midwinter Fire' comes out the perfect pleaser. Its fiery orange-yellow stems heroically intensify as winter deepens, burning the bleak away, as it were, with a raging flame. This brilliant dogwood is low maintenance and creates great borders and beds.

More subtle but as potent in dour weather is Mahonia x media 'Charity'. The evergreen shrub produces deliciously-scented clusters of pale yellow stalks. Exceedingly pretty to look at and quite the soother- lemony bursts gleefully shooting out of shady patches can only bring a smile to one's wintry outlook.

For winter valour, or hardiness, consider Ilex crenata, Japanese holly, as an alternative hedging plant to traditional Buxus, now often plagued by blight. Ilex crenata is an evergreen plant with small, rounded leaves. It is very similar in appearance to Buxus, but exhibits great resistance to pests and diseases, making it the ideal hedging substitute, especially this season. Perfect for ornamental topiary, with a compact habit lending itself to clipping into cones, hedges and other sculpted shapes. Both the Blondie and Dark Green varieties add superb winter interest. Blondie produces light yellow new foliage while the Dark Green holly has glossy, dark-green leaves.