COLUMN: The ‘Winter beauty’ brightens gardens

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November is all about compost and getting everything ready for winter.

Leaves have finally fallen and most plants will have become dormant. In fact, clearing leaves and cutting back dead growth is top of the agenda this month.

This is great news because leaves and garden debris are perfect ingredients for homemade compost.

Whilst the glories of summer have long passed there should still be lots of interest in your garden. Look out for the bright berries of the Cotoneaster or the colourful evergreen foliage of the various Holly varieties, and of course there is always the stunning Dogwood (Cornus).

Dogwoods are reliable and hardy shrubs that not only provide a luscious leafy backdrop to summer flowers but have a rainbow of leaf colours through the autumn and then go on to reveal brilliant wand-like stems. During winter the brightly coloured stems of dogwoods catch the sunlight to create dazzling displays and although small gardens might only have space for a single plant, it can be positioned where the low winter sun will shine through. With vibrant stems of intense red, orange and golden yellow it’s no wonder varieties have been given names such as Winter Beauty and Midwinter Fire.

Dogwoods grow well in almost any soil and are best in a sunny position, but if you want more detailed planting information then visit your local garden centre.