Winter interest in the garden

We often put all our efforts into making our gardens sing throughout the official growing season from spring to autumn, forgetting that there are plants that truly shine on those cold winter days.

A good example is Viburnum tinus Gwenllian – an evergreen, compact shrub native to the Mediterranean area of Europe and North Africa. With a hardiness rating of H4 (-10 to -5), it is hardy through most of the UK and will only need protection in the harshest of winters. It could be grown as a specimen shrub in a mixed border or used as a hedging plant. Unsurprisingly, it holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit, an award given to plants that perform reliably in the garden and earn their keep. With its oval, glossy leaves that contrast beautifully with flattened heads of small, star-shaped, pale pink flowers, it’s an absolute gem of a winter garden. The dainty, fragrant flowers opening from dark pink buds are followed by abundant, oblong, dark blue fruits that sit beautifully on bright red stems.

During these short, bleak winter days, even a bit of colour in the garden can make a huge difference, and this beautiful plant has got the means to lift our spirits and brighten up even the gloomiest of days.