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Evergreen touches of colour for the winter garden

As soon as the last summer flowers have disappeared, evergreen shrubs play their trump card: They give a wintry garden structure and bring spring colour to beds. This is because some of them defy the uniform grey of winter with their golden yellow needles and multi-coloured leaves.

It's all a question of structure

These evergreen stars really come into their own at this time of year. They make dreams of a year-round paradise come true because most conifers and some deciduous shrubs retain their foliage in both the summer and winter. Deciduous shrubs are the most animated of the evergreens. They really grab the attention at this time of year since - in addition to their rich green leaves - they also often bear flowers and fruit. Fruits with a sprinkling of hoar frost and leaves with a covering of ice crystals create picturesque garden images. In actual fact, the winter is when the garden features which are so prized by fans of clearcut shapes appear. Instead of floral depth, we see clear lines which often provide points of reference and orientation for the onlooker.

The kings of winter: Their many shades of green

Even though your garden is changing now of its own accord, you can still do some creative planning by choosing plants carefully to cast your own design on the winter revelations of nature. Typical evergreen shrubs such as yew, boxwood and ivy create monochrome contrasts to the brown and grey decay which is typical at this time of year. However, unless you are an exclusive fan of the colour green, you will wish to choose evergreens with greeny-yellow, silvery grey or creamy leaf shades. Conversely, the leaves of many types of oak glisten a gossamer blue colour. And whilst the oleaster with its colourful leaves emerges as a multi-coloured piece of jewellery, the Swiss mountain pine proves to be a deft quick-change artist. Its needles are green in the summer and glow from golden yellow to copper in the winter. The colour yellow is also prominent in the leatherleaf mahonia. Bright yellow contrasts strikingly with the dark green of the leathery leaves.