Achieving a planting scheme with year-round interest can feel like the epitome of successful garden design. Sustaining this balance through the colder, wetter and darker months is often the biggest challenge. The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire are famed for their Winter Garden, so I set off last weekend to see how it was looking in the middle of January.
January in the rain is often the moment when a garden can start to look its most forlorn. The lovely skeletons of last year's perennials and ornamental grasses are beginning to buckle, and will need to be cut back soon. However there are many beautiful evergreens that come into their own at this time of year.
One of my favourite evergreen plants is Mediterranean Spurge, Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii. With glaucous grey-green leaves arranged in fulsome whorls on pinkish stems, it provides colour, structure and textural interest all year round.