Every Christmas Eve I wander round the gardens here at Columbine and tot up all the plants that are bringing me cheer. There are more than you might think, offering bright or scented flowers, glowing stems, brilliant berries or just as importantly evergreen foliage.
Here are some of my essential plants, trees and shrubs that are brightening the gardens here at Columbine this Christmas.
Yew – dark green evergreen leaves.
Betula jacquemontii – birch that offers stunning white bark.
Ilex aquilfolium – the common holly.
Salix alba var. ‘Britzensis’ – scarlet willow with bright red stems.
Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ – small pink flowers with a glorious fragrance.
Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ – dogwood with bright red stems.
Hedra helix – the common ivy that is brilliant for wildlife.
Snowdrops – especially Galanthus ‘Three Ships’ that usually flowers at Christmas time.
Iris unguicularis – the winter flowering iris with scented purple flowers in abundance.
Cyclamen hederifolium – pretty heart-shaped leaves and fragrant pink flowers.
I try not to cut back border plants until early spring as seedheads and stems not only look statuesque when dry or touched with frost, but also offer sustenance to birds and insects. And it is here that you will find me this Christmas – admiring the benefits of having a garden that provides its very own brand of festive spirit.