Winter Gardens

You could be forgiven for imagining that with winter firmly upon us, the garden holds little interest from now until next spring, but actually there is a long list of fantastic trees and plants that provide winter interest. A great number of them are not only shade tolerant but also have scent, so there is much to be celebrated in the winter garden if you make the right choices.

Opposite is a list of some of my personal favourites that provide great winter interest and are suitable for our gardens here in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, but please remember to research the appropriate hardiness rating for your specific area or garden and match this to the plant you are considering, before making a purchase.
To do this you can check on the Royal Horticultural Society’s website


Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’

Betula utilis var. jacquemontii

Prunus serrula tibetica

Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’

Hamamelis x intermedia – too many great varieties to mention. (prone to suckering!)

Cotoneaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’

Chimonanthus praecox ‘Grandiflorus’


Bulbs & Corms

Galanthus (snowdrops)



Nerine bowdenii

Winter aconite


Grasses that still look good in the winter


Carex testacea

Carex buchananii


Wall Shrubs & Climbers


Clematis cirrhosa var. ‘balearica’ (only for a sheltered sunny wall).

Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’

Jasminum nudiflorum (winter jasmine)

Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’




  • Sarcococca confusa
  • Skimmia japonica ‘Magic Marlot’
  • Daphne bholua
  • Daphne retusa
  • Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’
  • Daphne mezereum ‘Rubra’
  • Daphne cneorum
  • Mahonia x media ‘Charity’
  • Ilex aquifolium ‘Argentea Variegata’
  • Cornus alba
  • Pieris japonica – lots of varieties to
    choose from
  • Pieris ‘Debutante’ for the smaller garden
  • Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ and ‘
    Little Red Robin’
  • Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ (male plant)
  • Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ (male plant)
  • Skimmia japonica ‘Fragrant Cloud’ (male plant)
  • Skimmia japonica ‘Nymans’ (female
    plant). If you want berries, plant
    with a male skimmia)
  • Cotoneaster ‘Cornubia’
  • Cotoneaster franchetii
  • Cotoneaster simonsii
  • Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’
  • Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price ‘or ‘Gwenllian’
  • Gaultheria procumbens
  • Pernettya ‘Bells Seedling Red Berries’
  • Symphoricarpos ‘Magical Candy’ or ‘Albus’
  • Calluna ‘Beauty Ladies Sisters’. Many
    varieties to explore other than this.
  • Erica darleyensis ‘Kramers Red’. Lots of
    other varieties to choose from.
  • Helleborus ‘Camelot’, ‘Sternii Blackthorn Group’, ‘ Hello Red’ and ‘Christmas Carol… so many
    beautiful varieties and long flowering!
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