WINTER gardens need a huge variety of plants to make them interesting and worthy of the effort to step outside the door.
One plant that will always draw me away from a cosy fire and a good book is the Tibetan Cherry, Prunus serrula.
This native of Western China, with its stunning bronze, peeling bark is a must for the winter garden, as a specimen in a lawn or border.
Reaching upwards of five metres (16’) after about 10 years, this tree is suited to medium and larger gardens because it can be ruined by excessive pruning if you are trying to keep its size down to fit in a smaller garden.
Because the trees main feature is its winter bark, it needs to be planted where it will get the low midday sunshine on the trunk to exaggerate the effect of the bronze colour.
When you choose a tree, try to select a multi-stemmed specimen that will give you a much better display than a normal standard one, so be prepared to ask at your garden centre or nursery.
This tree is not suited to very wet or very dry soils and so good soil preparation is essential before planting to ensure good establishment and survival.
To see this tree and other winter bark colour trees and shrubs, why not visit the National Trust property at Dunham Massey where they have a fabulous winter garden. Call 0161 941 1025 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk for more details.