bright red berries on stems of cotoneaster to bring colour to a winter garden

Bring colour to a winter garden by planting the right bushes now

Berry Christmas from Dreamscape Gardens!

This article was first published in MOOR magazine issue 48

We explain how to bring colour to a winter garden.


Winter gardening can be a bit of a challenge and if you’re looking out at your garden right now, from the comfort of your cosy living room, and it’s bare and dull-looking, take heart – it needn’t be. I’m often asked what’s an easy way to bring colour to a winter garden. It’s really not that difficult, in fact with a bit of forward planning, this time  next year your garden could  be bursting with colour, from  berries provided by well-chosen bushes.


So, here are my top three suggestions for bushes to help to bring some welcome colour to a winter garden. Plant some of these beauties now.


To help bring colour to a winter garden, top of my list would be Cotoneaster Horizontalis (aka ‘fishtail’), which in autumn and winter  will be smothered in shiny red berries. As its name suggests, it spreads horizontally so is great to grow against a low wall, creating all sorts of interesting shapes. It will drop its leaves as winter approaches, but they turn an attractive shade of pink before they fall. As an added bonus, in spring its rather inconsequential flowers seem to attract bees like nothing else – it’ll be covered with them!


Pyracantha (aka firethorn) is fantastic to bring colour to a winter garden too. Plus it’s evergreen so in addition to the beautiful fiery colours, you’ll have the lovely dark green leaves all through the winter. Most importantly, they’ll be topped with masses of golden, yellow or red berries (depending on which variety you chose). They can be easily trained with a bit of judicious pruning and have the added bonus of being thorny, so make a good deterrent plant too.


Finally, Viburnum. There are many to choose from but if you select the right variety you can have a fabulous display of winter berries as well as a lovely show of spring flowers. ‘Japanese snowball’ is a good choice with its pure white flowers in spring and gleaming red berries in autumn/winter.


And very importantly, the berries feed the birds which keeps them visiting your garden all year round!

bright red berries on stems of cotoneaster to bring colour to a winter garden
Cotoneaster horizontalis
Small red pyracantha berries in cluster
Pyracantha red berries
jewel-like viburnum berrries glow red in winter sunshine
Viburnum berries in sunlight

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