The Japanese Maple is indigenous to Asia. It can grow up to 25 feet tall, but also makes a good container plant. They provide the most astounding introduction to the winter season in your garden with a magnificent display of red and golden leaves in late autumn. As with camellias, the maples are slow growers and prefer a sheltered position from the wind. They also appreciate dappled sunlight and, being shallow rooted, a little extra watering during summer.
Traditionally associated with Christmas, the holly has bright berries, which can range from yellow to red, contrasting vividly with the glossy green leaves. There are varieties to suit just about every climate and they make a dramatic hedge plant. Remember that to produce berries you need a mixture of male and female plants.
Alone, the Snowdrop is a small, unassuming plant, but grouped in clusters around the base of trees they produce stunning displays well before most other winter bulbs. As a bonus, you can divide the bulb clusters every three or four years to increase your stock with no extra expense.
Berry bushes can add colour and attract bird life with colourful berry displays and contrasting foliage. Berry bushes range from round to skinny, short to tall, depending on the variety, so you can find a type to fit just your garden. Try Firethorne or Chinaberry to brighten up your winter garden.
Another south-east Asian native, the Crape Myrtle brings interesting bark textures to your winter garden in addition to the clusters of ruffled flowers ranging from white to purple. They prefer to be positioned in full sunlight. Remember to keep the ground moist to prevent dehydration and give them lots of room, as some varieties can grow up to 25 feet tall.
A native of Europe, the Hellebore is a very early bloomer, so you can expect to see blossoms appearing even in January.
Growing up to just 15 inches tall, hellebores look good, and will thrive in shaded areas under trees, where the white, pale pink and maroon blossoms will show off to their best advantage in otherwise difficult areas.