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Winter wonders.

WINTER will soon be taking our gardens in her frosty grasp. And perennial plants that have been partying all season will be going dormant, leaving bare spots in their wake. But there are many fantastic plants that can plug these gaps to keep your garden looking tip-top throughout winter and beyond.

You can depend on colourful shrubs when the chill sets in. Shrubby dogwoods form thickets of elegant, brightly coloured stems that are great for injecting a bit of zip into your garden year-round.

Try Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea' - golden-twig dogwood - for its continuously vibrant sunshine yellow stems. They are graced with white flowers and fruits from spring to autumn and foliage that changes with the seasons.

Or choose Cornus alba 'Sibirica' - Siberian dogwood - for lively red stems all year. And Cornus sanguinea - common dogwood - serves up a true kaleidoscope of colours changing from green and white in summer to red and black in autumn and winter.

Unfussy and very hardy, dogwoods do well in most spots and will thrive in damp conditions that could mean curtains for other shrubs.

If you are hoping to fill a small space at the front of a sunny border, look no further than heavenly bamboo - Nandina domestica 'Fire Power.' An evergreen, this compact shrub's seasonal colour changes ensure your garden never looks stuck in a time warp.

Lime green summer leaves tumble through jolly reds and burned oranges throughout autumn and winter and the plant's round red berries are a feast for birds in the colder months.

These shrubs do best in a sheltered position in full sun. Keep them moist and give them half a metre's worth of space to grow and spread and they will keep borders bright all year.

If bare walls are getting you down, go for some classy climbers.

Trachelospermum jasminoides - confederate jasmine - is a beautiful climbing evergreen that can be grown over a sheltered wall or fence to make a backdrop of foliage.

At this time of year, its leaves turn moody red, very unusual for an evergreen, making it a fantastic addition to the garden palette.

Changing with the seasons, it has attractive green foliage in spring through to autumn and jasmine's characteristic fragrant white star-shaped flowers all summer.

Grow this beauty in a sheltered and at least partially sunny spot where it has room to grow as tall and as wide as eight metres in under a decade.

For scented winter flowers, there's nothing quite like delicate floral perfumes wafting about the garden. But don't feel you have to say goodbye to this simple pleasure in winter.

If you have a large bare spot in full shade, Sarcococca confusa - sweet box - could well be the trick up the sleeve that you've been waiting for.

A bushy evergreen with year-round glossy green foliage, its real season of interest is winter when it produces deliciously fragranced flowers followed by lustrous black berries.

Pop it in a sheltered, shady spot with space to grow one-and-a-half-metres in width and two-and-a-half in height.

Chimonanthus is another option for winter aroma in a sheltered, sunny spot.

Although deciduous, so it drops its leaves for winter, this large woody shrub produces fragrant, clematislike flowers during winter and spring. Spreading up to two-and-a-half metres wide and growing to almost twice that in height, this is a shrub to end bareness in an entire border.

Plant these fragrant shrubs close to a doorway if possible so passers-by can appreciate their amazing scents.

But if you have room for a tree to brighten up your winter garden, you can't go wrong with Acer griseum. Known as paperbark maple, it provides year-round drama. Its trunk is covered in chestnut brown bark that peels and curls to create fantastic texture and interest.

Its velvety pale green leaves turn fantastic reds and oranges in celebration of the autumn before dropping to reveal the gnarly copper bark in winter.

Pop it in a sheltered, sunny spot and give it room to spread up to eight metres wide and 12 metres tall over the next few decades.

Another beautiful tree that provides year-round interest is Eucalyptus niphophila - snow gum. Not only does it retain the classic grey-green leaves of eucalyptus throughout all four seasons, it also features a patchwork quilt of bark laced with silver, cream and green.

Eucalyptus trees enjoy lots of water, plenty of sun and a nice sheltered spot to look their best.

Smaller than Acer griseum at a maximum of four metres wide and eight high, this tree is a fantastic addition to smaller gardens.

Add a few of these fabulous varieties to your garden this November and it will be brimming with colour and interest for years to come.

These colour changes ensure you don't get stuck in a time warp.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 17, 2018
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