I have been working this week on a planting plan for a driveway and front garden. The client has asked for evergreen structure with year round interest and colour and I have used a number of the shrubs and plants I have written about, starting with my first choice…
1. Ilex Aquilfolium ‘J C Van Tol’ (holly) – with dark green glossy almost spineless leaves with bright red berries on dark purple stems. It is self-fertile, so you don’t need to plant a male holly nearby to produce berries. It is evergreen and will grow into a small tree or larger shrub. I have put a Hamamelis (winter yellow flowering witch hazel) in front of it which flowers on bare branches and the dark green of the holly will make the Hamamelis really stand out. The berries of the holly provide a good source of food for the birds through the winter.
2. Acer griseum (paperbark maple) – one of my favourite trees, slow-growing medium sized tree with beautiful peeling layers of bark, brilliant autumn leaf colours of oranges and scarlet. Plant it in a prime position and enjoy the winter light on the bark.
Acer griseum in winter. Image thanks to Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
3. Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ – a shrub with great winter value as it flowers from autumn to spring with small clusters of scented flowers fading from pink to white with burnished bronze foliage in autumn. Plant it near a pathway for maximum effect. Height 3m, spread 2m, with very tall upright branches
Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ flower head. Image thanks to stakehillnurseries.co.uk.
4. Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’ – rather a mouthful for a lovely winter flowering clematis. It has scented, cream flowers speckled inside with reddish-brown spots and glossy green leaves. The flowers are followed by attractive seed heads. The flowers are very appealing to early bumble bees.
5. Cyclamen hederifolium – they say the best things come in small packages and Cyclamen are a perfect fit for this saying. They are small gems of delight in the winter and brighten up a border or woodland planted under shrubs or trees, or in pots or rock gardens.
Image thanks to www.plantsforless.co.uk
If you feel your garden deserves a treat – here are 10 choices for you to choose from.