Food For Thought: Hardy Winter Plants

Have you noticed? Autumn has arrived…
3 All-Season Trees

One thing a lot of our customers cite as a struggle is keeping their gardens looking good throughout winter. Beyond the obvious advice like all of the preparation in autumn that can make a real difference – what it comes down to in the end is making the right decisions on planting. Your garden should look beautiful all year round and you can only achieve this by selecting seasonal plants that rise and fall with the weather. That includes choosing hardy plants that can survive and thrive through the formidable British winter. Here are some of the best:


This is one of the least demanding plants that you can choose for the November – February period. Normally a five-petalled flower ranging from white through red and to pink – hellebores are short, early bloomers. Expect to find your garden beginning to bloom through snowfall in January, hellebores are notorious for breaking through the barrier! All they really need is well-drained soil and a shady spot, no input from you and you’ll have a hardy and beautiful flower come New Year.


Witch-hazel is one of the most common colourful sights during the British winter. You’ll need a little more space for this deciduous shrub, which can reach 20ft in height when left to its own devices. Brilliant as an screening or architectural plant, your garden will be filled with its yellow splashes throughout November and December. Plant either in spring or autumn, make sure they get enough water in their infancy and again – you’ve got another hardy plant that will deliver a lot and demand little.


You’re probably not surprised to see this one on the list. Snowdrops! Another plant notorious for poking its buds above the snow line, Galanthus nivalis can survive beneath intense periods of frost and just wait for the right time to open. Plant them in collective bunches as they’re most impressive as a group, growing only to around 10-15cm normally. The only downside to snowdrops is their intolerance to warm weather, even a mild winter can spell disaster for the little bell flowers.

Japanese Maple

From centimetres to metres, the Japanese Maple is one of the most colourful native Asiatics and can grow up to 25 feet tall. The golden and crimson fall throughout autumn has earned this tree its place in many public gardens, but its hardiness has won its place in the heart of low-maintenance gardeners. You’ll find yourself hesitant to clear up the beautiful display of leaves that coat your garden in a crispy ruby carpet over October. Don’t forget that you can pot your Japanese Maples, you don’t have to wait for it to become a monster before you can enjoy its beauty. But remember what I said about your terracotta pots!

‘Winter Flame’ and ‘Midwinter Fire’

Cornus sanguinea is a spectacular variety of dogwood that you can find all over Europe. It can grow quite large so make sure that you’ve either got space or you keep a close eye on its growth. Famous for its brilliantly coloured stems, these show during winter once the plant had dropped its leaf. A fantastic surprise in the midst of what can be a dreary season (not if you’ve paid attention to the above!)

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