Known as the Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger is well recognised in the garden for providing long-lasting flowering winter interest from December right through to March. With their bright, downward-facing, white flowers, they penetrate the winter gloom, making them real showstoppers at this time of year. Hellebores belongs to the buttercup family and, as one of the few perennials which bloom in the cold season, they make a truly fantastic seasonal display.
Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’
Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is a fantastic winter-flowering shrub, bearing densely packed clusters of blush, white, or pink sweetly scented blooms on bare stems. Flowering through into spring, it can reach up to two metres height in 20 years. To fully appreciate the deliciously scented flowers, plant in a moist, well-drained border close to a path or entranceway in full sun or partial shade.
Mahonia is an evergreen shrub with shiny leaves and spikes of fragrant, bright yellow flowers in winter to early spring, often followed by purple to black berries in autumn. They prefer partial to full shade and thrive in woodland conditions, only needing watering in extremely dry conditions and tolerating cold weather down to -15°C. Some varieties grow to a height and spread of two metres/six feet so make a great statement at the back of a border, but there are smaller varieties suitable for providing more ground cover.
Senecio candidas ‘Angel’s wings’
Angel’s Wings is an evergreen perennial with large, rounded, silvery-grey leaves known for its soft, velvety texture. The hairy leaves are drought tolerant and too much moisture can kill it off. It is an ideal plant to grow in a container which can be easily moved under cover to protect from heavy rains or frost. It is moderately hardy, tolerating temperatures down to around -5°C, and is ideal for coastal gardens as it is tolerant of salt winds. Clump-forming to a height and spread of 45cm, small, yellow flowers are produced in summer.
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Golf Ball’
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Golf Ball’ is a compact shrub bearing small, pale green leaves. With a rounded shape, growing to one metre in diameter, it makes for a great low hedge as it seldom needs clipping. It is best grown in a sunny, sheltered site in moist but well-drained soil. Pittosporum tenuifolium is a hardy pittosporum but it may need protection from cold, drying winds.