TOO much turkey, stuffing, Christmas pud and chocolates? Now’s the time to don warm coats, hats, scarves and gloves and go for a winter walk.
Public gardens give gardeners inspiration for the seasons ahead, and show everyone that beautiful flora and fauna can be found at all times of year.
Here are five British gardens which offer a wealth of amazing winter planting ranging from witch hazel and dogwood to snowdrops, honeysuckle and silver birch. 1. Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Catkins of the Garrya elliptica (silk-tassel bush) in the winter walk at Anglesey Abbey (Rod Edwards/National Trust Images/PA)
Designed specifically with plants that give winter colour, texture and fragrance, the garden at Anglesey Abbey is alive and vibrant during the cold months.
Discover bright yellow and red dogwoods and the polished bark of the Tibetan cherry. Enjoy the scent of winter flowering honeysuckle floating in the breeze and look out for the slender white trunks of the Himalayan silver birch grove. Afterwards, set out along easy footpaths to explore the winding fenland landscapes and wide open skies. 2. Bodnant Garden, Conwy, North Wales
With colourful and fragrant plants, Bodnant’s winter garden brightens up even the coldest of days. Discover colouredstemmed birches, bright bergenias and bulbs such as snowdrops, iris, cyclamen and crocus. Enjoy the scent of winter shrubs such as hamamelis, daphne and sarcococca.
Take a walk up through Furnace Wood and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas over the garden. 3. RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex
The new Winter Garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall celebrates the delights of winter, with its multitude of radiant stem colours, peeling barks, luminous leaf colours and dazzling berries. Coppiced willow sculpted into interesting shapes capture the imagination, and there is a vast array of winter interest, stark skeletal shapes and stunning silhouettes.
The garden also includes a trial of almost 50 cultivars of cornus, including the bright red stems of Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ and the rarer Cornus alba ‘Ruby’. 4. Dunham Massey, Cheshire
The Dunham Massey winter garden is the largest of its kind in the UK. Take a winter stroll to see striking white-stemmed silver birch and bright dogwood barks as well as colourful berries and winter flowers.
Beneath the trees, thousands of bulbs spring to life over the cold season, including snowdrops, white cyclamen and striking blue winter irises.
Out in the wider parkland you can discover Dunham’s collection of veteran trees, which have weathered many winters and look set to continue. 5. The Hermitage, Perthshire
This nature reserve protected by the National Trust for Scotland is a magical Perthshire forest-turned-winterwonderland at this time of year. Home to some of the UK’s largest trees, take a walk through the towering Douglas firs and gaze over the beautiful Black Linn Falls, where spray from the surging river creates beautiful shimmering ice crystals across the surrounding rocks and trees, leaving one of the most fantastical sights of the season that Scotland can offer.
Stroll along the banks of the River Braan and you may see snow chutes created by otters as they slide into the water on their bellies. Also, keep an eye out for the totem pole hidden in the woods and red squirrels darting about in the tree tops.
Dunham Massey in winter