Keep it colourful - even in the cold
There is so much in flower right now, it's hard to believe that in only a few more days it will officially be winter.
If you tend to be a bit of a springtime gardener, then you might get seduced by the things that are in flower then, so your garden is perhaps a bit lacklustre at other times.
The best solution for that is to take stock of your garden a couple of times a year, and inject a bit of interest when it needs it. Not only will this make it more attractive for your, but it will also be more attractive to all the pollinators and beneficial insects that we want to attract to help keep our plants healthy and productive.
In winter, camellias are exquisite, first the sasanquas which start in autumn and are still going strong, and then the japonicas. Plectranthus is another beautiful winter flowering plant, perfect for shade or semi-shade. The mauve flowering form 'Mona Lavender' has been around for a few years, but there are now white, pale pink and dark pink forms available.
My Gordonia axillaris trees are in full bloom, a mass of pure white flowers with yellow centres that look like sasanqua camellia flowers.
Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are another star in the winter garden. Native to southern Mexico, they have erect, succulent stems and large brilliantly coloured bracts. The dwarf forms don't get as leggy as the old fashioned varieties, making them ideal for pots. Poinsettias grow best in full sun to part shade, and make a great indoor plant through winter. Look out for the bright pink 'Princettia' which is absolutely stunning.
Prune poinsettias at least once after flowering, but stop pruning at the end of summer or you won't get the winter show.
And of course pansies, violas and cyclamen are just lovely, and are a treat to be enjoyed only in the cooler months. Plant them now, because in our climate their season is all too short.