Gardeners should set up their garden by planning ahead for the changing of the seasons and choosing a combination of plants to ensure year-round interest.
Alasdair Urquhart, in-house plant expert at Haskins, recommends the top five plants for year-round interest:
Choisya ‘Aztec Gold’ (pictured above)
With its gold architectural leaves, this is the perfect evergreen shrub. It has a roundish style, with leaves split into slender, pointed segments which are rich gold towards the tips and a slightly lime-yellow towards the base.
Clusters of attractive, almond-scented white flowers first appear in spring and early summer followed by another flush in autumn.
Happy in any reasonably well-drained, fertile soil, the brightest leaf colour develops in full sun.
With many hebes to choose from, Haskins’ favourite is ‘Caledonia,’ with its profuse violet flowers that appear from spring to autumn. It’s a compact variety, with young, wine-red leaves that fade to a ball of dark green.
It’s also popular with wildlife, as the violet flowers are very attractive to pollinators. Performs well in coastal areas, and thrives in any fertile, free-draining soil.
Haskins’ favourite evergreen climber thrives in plenty of sun and can flower for all summer. Once established, the profuse white star-shaped flowers produce a sweet scent, followed by rich-bronze autumn tints to the leaves.
Plants can easily be trained to cover a whole fence or trellis to make a green wall of foliage which, apart from rampant ivy, no other evergreen climber can achieve.
For best results, grow in well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade with protection from cold, drying winds.
Leucothoe ‘Little Flames’
A dramatic container plant, the young leaves of this compact, evergreen shrub appear to dance like small bright orange-red flames over the darker green foliage below.
Providing attractive, trouble-free gardening, this plant tolerates most conditions but thrives in a moist soil. Effective as a very low hedge, it also has an added bonus of being deer resistant.
Acer “Sango Kaku”
Offering all year interest, this popular tree deserves its RHS Award of ‘Garden Merit.’
The show starts with bright coral pink growth leading to deeply-lobed yellow-orange foliage in spring, turning lush green in summer and then striking soft yellow in autumn.
Once the foliage display is over, the bare branches take centre stage. Triggered by a cold snap, the stems and bark become a stunning winter focal point, turning a vibrant coral red.
For best results, grow in a moist but well-drained soil in partial shade. Protect it from the harshest winds, which may cause leaf scorch.
Alasdair said: “The key to achieving a garden that really looks good all-year-round is to put in a good structure of plants that offer year-round colour and add seasonal flowering plants to provide additional interest.
It is possible to achieve a garden never completely devoid of colour and looks stylish throughout the year.
“The full selection of plants we have recommended are in Haskins from mid-February.”
Haskins has centres in Ferndown, Dorset, West End in Southampton and Roundstone and Snowhill in West Sussex.