In every month of the year, there are a few plants that stand out from the rest.
Discover plants that look good all year.
Many of us have small gardens, so it’s important to always go for the best. The best plants often include good cultivars that are resilient and robust.
To get year round interest, go for plants with more than just flowers. Choose plants with colourful stems, berries, dramatic foliage and scent, too.
We’ve picked 12 plants that will provide colour in every month.
H x S 1.5m x 2m
Ice, snow or chilly winds, Mahonia japonica, or oregon grape, can shrug off inclement weather. A bold evergreen shrub with yellow flowers that waft their scent on the cold air.
Helleborus x hybridus
H x S 50cm x 50cm
Hellebores flower in the depths of winter when needed most. Colours range from pure white to the deepest burgundy. Robust, free-flowering and easy to grow, these perennials like soil rich in organic matter and cope in shade but are happy in the sun if the soil is fertile.
H x S 15cm x 20cm
Our native primrose is the epitome of spring. The pallid yellow flowers have a rich egg-yolk centre. Dappled shade and and humus-rich soil is ideal, and they’ll gradually self-seed.
H x S 40cm x 40cm
This distinctive perennial has three horizontal petal-like bracts that are darkly mottled, with three central petals are held upright. The magnificent display starts in April and lasts for months in cool weather. Bracts tend to be more robust than petals and continue to make an impact long after the petals have disintegrated.
H x S 50cm x 80cm
Euphorbias are the beacons of late spring, turning a zingy yellow. This change is dramatic with E. epithymoides. Making a neat dome of less than 60cm, its stems and leaves are bright and fresh, with blooms that seem to glow.
H x S 50cm x 50cm
Astrantias will do well in any soil as long as it’s not thin and dry. ‘Roma’, with its bold clumps of pink pincushion flowers, is a reliable and useful garden plant. A sterile hybrid, it flowers non-stop from late spring to late autumn and looks good in both cottage-style and modern naturalistic plantings.
H x S 100cm x 50cm
Campanulas have been sourced from many places across the globe, allowing hybrids to occur between plants that don’t normally meet. ‘Sarastro’ is one of the best. Striking deep violet-blue flowers hang from straight stems. As it’s a sterile hybrid and sets no seed, it has no reason to stop flowering. Plant in sun or dappled shade, in any fertile soil.
Phlox x arendsii ‘Hesperis’
H x S 70cm x 50cm
Phlox is key to the late-summer garden, and this old variety is one of the best. Extremely beautiful, it produces loose pyramids of lilac flowers and offers scent, especially in the evening. Combines well with grasses, rudbeckias, heleniums and helianthus. Resistant to mildew.
Rudbeckia x fulgida deamii
H x S 100cm x 50cm
This stunning perennial is at its best in September, and it loves an Indian summer. At its peak, the flower power can be so full-on that the leaves are hidden. Easy to grow, it prefers full sun, although it dwindles in dry soil.
Nerine ‘Zeal Giant’
H x S 50cm x 20cm
Big and bold, nerines are the answer to a fading garden, and none are more gorgeous than this variety. As with all nerines, the fluorescent flowers have an almost crystalline shimmer. While not totally hardy, ‘Zeal Giant’ is tougher than many nerine hybrids. Needs a sunny spot.
H x S 2.5m x 2.5m
In the wild, Japanese maples grow beneath the canopy of larger forest trees, where they’re sheltered from hot sun and searing winds. Available in a range of leaf forms and colours, these small trees prefer acid soil and need a sheltered spot. ‘Osakazuki’ is a superb variety with leaves that turn a flaming red in November.
H x S 8m x 4m
Our native mountain ash is a widespread tree, especially on lighter, acid soils. Steeped in folklore, it’s associated with good luck and was often planted close to dwellings. A green and white presence in spring and summer, but in winter the red berries stand out, and are devoured by thrushes, blackbirds, migrating redwings and fieldfares.