The A-to-Z of a hot-selling garden
Selling a home in winter while the garden's bare and dreary? Buyers say gardens make a big impression, so try our (almost) A-to-Z list of winter-blooming flowers to add colour and value.
A: Anemones and aloes are polar opposites in the bloom department but both put on a marvellous winter display. Aloes will flower through winter with their vibrant orange, yellow or red poker-like flowers. When it comes to bulbs, anemones are the best value for money - and blooming beautiful to boot.
B: Bergenias, aka elephant's ears, are evergreen plants with large round leaves and 20-30 centimetre high stems of small pink blooms mostly in late winter.
C: Cinerarias and camellias are champions in the winter garden. Cinerarias come in colourful purples, blues, pinks and reds, and grow well in part shade.
Camellias flower at different times of the year, so the best time to pick one out is when it is in bloom.
D: Daphnes are delightful., particularly Daphne bholua, a hardy shrub with fragrant winter blooms. Though watch out - it does tend to get a little leggy the older it gets.
E: E is for echeverias, a favourite succulent. Their leafy rosettes may be green, silver, pink or a deeper maroon, and they grow well in the garden or containers. .
F: Foliage plants are typically the backbone of the garden and they can provide magnificent colour throughout winter. Try the plum- coloured heucheras, the winter red or orange nandinas, the colourful bracts of leucadendrons, and the burgundy- leafed loropetalums.
G: G is for Garrya elliptica 'James Roof', which is downright striking in winter. It has 15-20cm long catkins that hang like silk tassels. Plants grow to about 3m high and are frost-hardy.
H: Hellebores and hardenbergias provide lovely flowers in the cooler months. Hellebores have dainty- looking flowers, although they are hardy plants, flowering from winter into spring. The modern hybrids come in many gorgeous colours. Hardenbergias are evergreen climbers with a mass of tiny purple, pink or white flowers in winter and spring.
I: Iceland poppies are another plant ideal for winter. They have delicate- looking paper-crepe flowers, though they are hardy winter-flowering annuals in cheerful shades of yellow, salmon-pink, orange and white.
J: Johnny-jump-up is the tiny viola with cream, yellow and velvety purple blooms. These little flowers add superb ornamentation to the winter and spring garden.
K: Kniphofia, or red hot pokers, are hardy perennials that flower in late summer, autumn or winter, depending on the variety. 'Winter Cheer' has scarlet-orange pokers on tall stems in winter.
L: Lavender not only looks great in the winter garden, but provides a wonderful scent.
M Manuka 'Winter Cheer' has double red flowers in winter and early spring.
N: Narcissus, or daffodils, tend to flower in spring, though 'Erlicheer' and 'Tete-a-tete' are early winter bloomers.
P: Pansies, polyanthus and primulas are the three Ps for winter colour. All can be found in the potted colour section at your local garden centre. Use them to brighten up particularly dull corners in the garden.
R: Ranunculus and rhododendrons are winter winners. Ranunculus are beautiful bulbs that flower in winter if planted early enough. Rhododendron varieties may typically flower in spring, though some flower in late winter. 'Christmas Cheer' is one of the first rhododendrons to bloom.
S: Succulents in general can provide great colour over winter. Maroon aeoniums, golden sedums and red- tipped kalanchoes are great, and don't forget flaming Katy, an indoor succulent that flowers over winter.
T: Tibouchina has vivid purple blooms, though some of the newer varieties have pale lavender ones. Either way, they provide lovely colour from autumn through to spring, though plants are best in a warm, sheltered spot if they are to flower in winter.
U: V is for Viburnum x bodnantense. 'Dawn' is a lovely variety with a frothy showcase of sugary pink scented flowers in winter.
W: Wallflowers are wonderful for fragrance and colour. Erysimum 'Beth' is a perennial wallflower with mauve-pink blooms from late winter or spring.