“This hellebore is almost too much, but it is rather fabulous,” says Alexander. The large, claret-coloured flowers, face outward rather than downward as is more typical.
Helleborus ‘Ices n’ Roses Red’
This long-standing variegated favourite is an ideal self-supporting climber, being both hardy and fairly easily controlled
Hedera helix ‘Glacier’
Dogwoods come into their own in autumn and winter when their foliage and stems take on fiery shades – especially when grown in full sun.
Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’
It’s not hard to see why this plant is also called the Christmas rose. H. niger offers pure white flowers and will grow well in containers or garden bed
“This is a Marmite plant – you either love or hate it. The yellow flowers are not for everyone, but the few bees that are out at this time of year love it and I like its structure,” says Alexander.
This completely hardy shrub will grow in shade as well as sun. In winter, ‘Dragon Gate’ bears tufts of creamy white flowers followed by red berries.
Sarcococca ‘Dragon Gate’
This blue-green, tuft-forming grass is an invaluable hardy filler. “It’s a great textural plant and, repeated at intervals, it is ideal for highlights and continuity,” says Alexander.
These tiny winter jewels will fill pots with great effect, but in self-sown swathes they’ll also lift a garden in its darkest hour.
“This is something I grew in the borders at the main entrance of Kew,” says Alexander
Muscari ‘Christmas Pearl’
Male plants of Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ are a popular choice for winter planting, but Alexander suggests trying
Skimmia japonica subsp. Reevsiana