Gardens don’t have to look dull and drab just because it’s winter. Plenty of plants come into their own at this time of year, with flowers, berries and even coloured stems bringing gardens to life through the coldest months. Here are a few of our favourite plants for winter gardens.

Best plants for berries

Plants that bear berries are a must in any winter garden. As well as adding colour, berries are a great food source for wildlife, bringing birds flocking to your garden. There’s no shortage of berry-bearing shrubs to choose from, and here are three of the best:

  • Pyracantha (firethorn) – bears yellow, orange or red berries in winter.
  • Ilex aquifolium (holly) – Female varieties bear glossy red berries provided a male variety is nearby for pollination

Hellebores, those stalwarts of the shady garden, look fantastic at this time of year, with clusters of flowers in shades from pure white through pink and red to darkest purple-black. Pink and white cyclamens form carpets of colour under trees, together with snowdrops and winter aconites. Mahonias bear bright yellow scented flower spires, and in early spring Chaenomeles (Japanese quince) lights up shady spots with its white, pink or red-and-gold flowers.

Plants for winter pots

If you’re short on garden space, violas are one of the best choices for winter pots, and they’re available in just about any colour you can think of. Winter-flowering heathers also look lovely in pots, as well as providing vital food for bees venturing out in mild spells.

Colourful heucheras look stunning in pots all year round and make superb feature plants for large winter pots, surrounded by flowering winter bedding. Evergreen grasses like Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ (blue fescue) and Carex ‘Evergold’ also make excellent winter container plants.