As the days get shorter, much of the garden slips into a winter slumber. Some herbaceous perennials retreat below ground, the last annuals succumb to frost and dormant deciduous shrubs and trees shed a carpet of colourful leaves. It can feel like the finale to the gardening year, and time to hunker down indoors until spring.
However, a winter garden can be a beautiful, enchanting place. Chosen carefully, plants can raise the spirits with unexpected flowers and scent, providing you with a colourful scene to look out onto from the warmth of indoors.
A heavy frost can lure you outside to marvel at the intricate detail of cobwebs and seedheads, the luminescent quality of jewel-like berries and the crazed patterns trapped in a frozen bird bath. All these seasonal treats ease the journey through the bleakest months.
Flowers may be few and far between, but foliage, stems, berries and bark can all help to bring colour, shape and texture to your garden. Even if space is limited, you can distil these elements into winter container displays using dwarf shrubs and conifers, evergreen ferns and grasses mixed with cheerful winter bedding.