Winter need not be a bleak time in the garden, according to Timothy Walker, as colour can be found throughout the season in many shrubs and flowering plants which provide both structure and colour from their foliage, stems, berries and flowers. His presentation was both entertaining and very informative with a host of recommendations to ensure that our gardens remain of interest with splashes of colour throughout the winter. Some examples of plants that produce colourful winter berries are the cotoneasters, Skimmia japonica, Callicarpa, and Chaenomeles.
Other shrubs that flower in winter include Viburnum tinis, Hamemalis, Mahonia, Sarcococca, Jasmium and Garrya elliptica. Smaller plants suitable for borders inclued Pulmonaria angustifolia, Hellebores, Saxifrages Cyclamen coum, Tulipa kaufmanniana some types of iris and snowdrops
Many plants have colourful stems and foliage that provide interesting structural forms in winter. These include Ophiopogon, Stipa tenuissima, Trochodendron, Daphniphyllum, Aucuba japonica, Viburnum judii, Eleagnus, Betula jacquemontii, Acer griseum, Cornus alba teasles and mosses.
We were reminded that even in winter when the garden appears at rest, gardeners need to remain busy with plenty of jobs to be done. From sweeping up leaves and composting them, digging and replanting herbaceous borders, and mulching them with compost to cleaning out garden ponds there is no excuse for gardeners to hibernate indoors.