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BRIGHTEN up your winter.

Byline: BY TOBY MUSGRAVE The TV Gardener

THIS week I want to introduce a type of plant that can be used to bring another splash of colour to the winter garden - shrubs.

And the great thing is that, these days, the majority of them are sold in pots. So if you get out there now and plant them, then there is a very good chance that you will get a really good show this year - a real example of instant garden!

There are winter flowering shrubs (such as hellebores, bergenias, and heathers) which, when used in combination with winter flowering bulbs and perennials, give a good winter show.

Used correctly, they ensure that even in the gloomiest months there can be a splash of colour in the garden.

The sign of something growing always gives me hope that the spring will come again.

Another great benefit of many winter flowerers is that they have wonderfully scented flowers. So plant them where you can see them from the house and put them in a sheltered spot so that their perfume lingers.

Wintersweet is a shrub that can be trained against a wall and has the most beautifully smelly flowers.

Another great wall shrub is winter flowering jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), but sadly its yellow blooms are unscented.

If you want another winner on the scented front then there is winter flowering honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima), but it does look a tad dull for the rest of the year. And if you have the space, there is a lovely winter flowering cherry called Prunus subhirtella var. autumnalis.

Finally, there is another group of plants which may not flower in winter but do look great, especially when planted with those that do.

In this class I would include the dogwoods (Cornus spp), paper and snake bark maples (Acer spp) which all have attractive bark, and plants which have an architectural form such as phormiums, yuccas and bamboo.

CAPTION(S):

COLOURFUL: heathers and, inset, jasmine can really brighten up a garden during winter
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 21, 2007
Words:337
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