As the year draws to a close, it’s the foliage which shows off its real colours. Acers are one of the best choices for autumn colour in a smaller garden.
If you have the space for a larger tree, liquidambar, Persian ironwood (parrotia) and nyssa are all resplendent this time of year—look in our ornamental tree section!
Berry-bearing plants are another way of bringing colour & wildlife in at this time of year. Gaultheria (pernettya) is a valuable small shrub with berries either red, white or pink.
Other options would be trees like crab apple, hawthorn, rowan and female holly. Also, shrubs such as pyracantha, spindle (euonymus),berberis, cotoneaster and callicarpa ‘The beauty berry’ Stalwarts of the winter garden are the heathers: hardy, tough and very good for pollinators at this time of year, ivies are invaluable in this respect too.
Not nectar-producing, but by far the hardiest of the heathers, are the ‘bud bloomers’. These resist rain and snow and bloom over a long period, the ‘beauty ladies’ range being an example.
Seedheads can look great with winter frost glistening on them and overwintered grasses can add architectural accents as well as being wildlife friendly.
Bark texture and colouration come into their element now with bright dogwood (cornus) stems, acers, birches, cherries and eucalyptus
As far as actual blooming at this time of year, the Christmas rose (hellebore) is probably the star of the show. However, some camellias do flower early and viburnum ‘dawn’, mahonia and coronilla. Primula, cyclamen and pansies or violas also add colour especially to container planting.
Evergreens add shape and texture. Skimmias have
budded flowerheads through winter. Leucothoe has red tinged leaves but also variegated and slightly pink-tinged varieties also.
Photinias (red robin) has similar colouration but tends to grow bigger if allowed and can be grown as a standard or trimmed for a more architectural look, (check out the top greenhouse for more ideas)
Other evergreens of note include osmanthus, euonymus, choisya (especially sundance),phormiums, heucheras, hebe & viburnum tinus which also flowers late into the season.
Also don’t forget pieris, camellias and rhododendrons which can be found in our dedicated house at the far end of the nursery.
And finally... spring bulbs! Early snowdrops, iris reticulata and tete a tete daffodils remind us that a new season will spring to life very soon!