Top plants for winter flowers; top tips WITH RICHARD EVANS OF SNOWDONIA NURSERIES.
Mahonias are especially valuable, with clusters of primrose yellow spikelets from November to January and evergreen foliage, adored by flower arrangers.
Christmas box is a small evergreen lime tolerant shrub with late winter clusters of tiny, fragrant cream flowers.
Viburnum x bodnantense is a beautiful hybrid raised at Bodnant Gardens in 1935 with a strong upright habit and pale pink fragrant flower clusters on otherwise naked branches.
Winter cherry blossom prunus subhirtella autumnalis, up to 7m high, has small, semi double, pale pink flowers from as early as November till March.
Garrya elliptica is a handsome evergreen shrub with olive green foliage and long greyish green catkins in January and February.
Witchhazels have curious tufts of saffron like flowers in yellow, orange and red shades.
Winter flowering heathers flower from November till April, an invaluable source of nectar for bees when flowers are scarce.
Helleborus niger, the Christmas rose, is one of several winter flowering hellebores, and the cyclamen coum, typically with tiny cerise flowers, produces a carpet of flowers and foliage under trees in January.