Body, soul and gardening - winter cheer

There is something incredibly uplifting about the sight of plump flower buds bursting into life, bringing colour in the garden, when so much is in decay.  Here’s our pick of fab shrubs to brighten up the garden during the festive period.

Viburnum × bodnantense ‘Dawn' - This is a gorgeous shrub for the winter months.  With a neat upright habit, it’s perfect near a path in sun or part shade, where the exquisite clusters of fragrant pink flowers (from November to March) can be appreciated up close.  It’s on my wish list.

Daphne odora - A rounded evergreen shrub that gives the garden structure, in winter it s covered with clusters of purple pink buds opening to pale pink flowers.  It’s happy in full sun or partial shade somewhere where you can enjoy the delicious scent.  The more upright semi-evergreen Daphne bholua is lovely underplanted with Cyclamen coum.

Viburnum tinus 'Eve Price' - This dark-leaved evergreen shrub comes into life around now with heads of unassumingly pretty pinkish-white flowers, opening from pink buds on reddish stems.  This variety is denser and more compact than the species.

Sarcococca confusa - Another wonderful shrub for winter with a mass of sweet-scented white flowers and dark glossy leaves.  It copes well with dry shade and associates well with other woodland planting.

Camellia sasanqua 'Rainbow' - More subtle and scented than many of the spring-flowering varieties, sasanqua camellias produce a mass of delightful golden eyed flowers including this pretty variety with pink-flushed white flowers.  Happy in part shade, but not east facing. It works well in a pot if soil is too alkaline.