Shrubs for Winter Interest.

It is important to me that my garden in winter should have something of interest at all times.To this aim, I am always looking for new plants and ideas for colour or shape.

Many of the most interesting plants are shrubs and as they take up a lot of room as well as looking good in winter, they must earn their keep the rest of the year. There are many which do just that. The first is Mahonia. This shrub gets to 6-10ft (1.8-3m) tall so is not a small plant. However, it is evergreen with very fragrant yellow flowers during winter. It looks a bit like a holly but not so prickly.

Next is Daphne (Mezereon) . This is a smaller shrub (height 5ft )(1.5m))with fragrant, pink, white or purple flowers. Skimmia is another shrub about the same size. It has red buds during the winter which develope into flowers and last a very long time. Although it is not scented, it earns its keep by being more compact with nice dark green leaves, so makes a good backdrop for other flowers during the rest opf the year.

If you have ropom. Willow loks god with its catkins during winter. However, I would not recommend it for small gardens, as the rots have a way of spreading a long way and can easily undermine the fottings of your house. You are better off plantimng either Chinese withch hazel ot Wintersweet. Both these shrubs can grow up to 10 ft tall, so they are not for the feint hearted but they both have sweet scented yellow flowers during winter. Wintersweet appreciates some shelter and performs better if it is planted against a shoulth or west facing w

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