Revealed: what to plant to ensure a colourful garden this winter
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In the next few weeks, we'll start deadheading the final roses of summer and clearing out the window boxes – but here's what to plant now to ensure your garden stays full of colour this winter.
Some gardeners love the bare bones of their gardens taking over for the winter.
It's a chance to fully appreciate the branches of trees, the clearness in the flowerbeds, the curving shape of paths and the reflection of winter skies in the greenhouse and pond.
But for those yearning for splashes of colour throughout the winter months, there is plenty of choice.
Add instant colour by refilling tubs, planters and window boxes. Winter flowering pansies are a good start. Buy cheap and cheerful to replace every few weeks with different colours through the coming months, or choose more robust (and usually more expensive) pansies to see your planters through until spring.
They work well with heathers, which themselves should keep some colour in the garden until next year. Their soft shades can look particularly good planted with evergreen shrubs.
Add pops of colour with outdoor chrysanthemums which should easily last until the first frosts.
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Bushes and trees with evergreen foliage are an obvious choice, whether you choose traditional deep green holly or a variegated ivy or euonymus. Keep the birds happy and add some berry bearing shrubs and bushes such as rowan, holly, whitebeam, spindle, dog rose, guelder rose, elder, hawthorn, honeysuckle and ivy. They bring plenty of interest to a garden, along with shrubs like cotoneaster, pyracantha and berberis which, the RSPB says, are especially good for a wide range of birds.
Look to barks for interesting colours and textures and for brightly coloured shrub stems. The fiery bright of dogwood can lift a garden in the winter, almost glowing through the mist and providing a stunning contrast with the usual browns and greys.
Larger items such as brightly stemmed willows, sedums and acer, cherry and birch trees will lift a winter garden, and the skeletal shapes add a classic sculptural feel too.