Plants and Flowers for Uplifting Year-Round Colour - Squire's Garden Centres

Plants and Flowers for Uplifting Year-Round Colour

If we told you that you could have year-round colour in the garden from your plants, trees, and shrubs would you believe us? ‘Even in the middle of winter?’ we hear you say. But yes! It’s true, despite the UK’s often dreary, damp, dark winters, there are many plants that will bloom in the winter months when not a whole lot else will, in addition to all the plants we more commonly know that bloom in the spring and summer through to autumn. Then we have plants that bring wonderful year-round interest on their own. Adding them all together creates an abundance of choice for you to pick from when adding to your own garden, extending the seasonal cheer from the spring and summer right through into winter, even achieving glorious full year-round colour. This is particularly good for those of us that are more sensitive to seasonal affective disorder, or the “winter depression”, when the nights are longer, days are short, it’s cold and wet, and gardens aren’t typically blooming. With just a little bit of planning and effort, you can ensure your garden pops with some colour and interest all year, acting as a lovely tonic for the soul to uplift us and give much needed cheer.

The Colour Psychology of Plants

It’s worthwhile understanding why the colours of plants have such a profound effect on our emotional well-being. The psychology of colour is a very interesting realm where different colours are known to evoke specific feelings within us. For instance, vibrant reds can stimulate energy levels and appetite, while calming blues can invite a tranquil atmosphere.

Gardens are our personal sanctuaries. We plant what resonates with us, and it’s often the colours that hook our emotions. Here are the colour categories and the moods they inspire:

  • Red: Courage, passion, and warmth
  • Orange: Enthusiasm and creativity
  • Yellow: Joy, happiness, and intellect
  • Green: Balance, growth, and safety
  • Blue: Serenity, trust, and productivity
  • Purple: Wisdom, dignity, and independence

Understanding how colour and emotion helps our minds and moods will help to guide you when it comes to picking out what plants to add to your garden for year-round colour and interest.

Colourful Plants & Flowers to Uplift Ourselves & Our Gardens All Year

There’s no doubt though that the garden will look its best in the spring and summer. This is OK, but it can still offer lots of interest in the winter months. Our view is not to worry too much about what blooms month-to-month, just go for it when it comes to planting in each season, have it looking amazing in the warmer months when it’s naturally going to look its best, then see what you can do to add in more of that winter interest too. Additionally, you want to have those plants that give your garden structure among the plants that only bloom once then fade, and those that go dormant in the wintertime. These are your trees and shrubs typically, and you want to have them as the foundation of the garden, then have your annuals and perennials planted among them or in front.

Without further ado, here’s our list of plants, trees and shrubs for year-round interest and colour for seasons of the year. We’ve listed lots, and highlighted some, but all are fantastic options for year-round colour.


Snowdrops, pansies, cyclamen, crocus, viburnum tinus, mahonia japonica, heather, lonicera (honeysuckle), iris, primroses, hellebores, holly, and witch hazel, will all add wonderful winter colour and interest to the garden from December to February.

Snowdrops are often the first bulbs to bloom in the year and will push through the frozen soil to show off their exquisite white downward hanging flowers. Cyclamen with their dainty flowers in whites, pinks, purples, or reds, will also push through the frozen and snow-covered soil to show their lovely blooms, often covering an area of ground. Another plant which covers an area of grass or ground with a real mass of colour quickly are crocuses. These usually flower in late winter with their wonderful purple flowers. In fact, snowdrops, cyclamen, and crocuses are great together with their contrasting colours making for a real ‘pop’ of colour you wouldn’t think out of place in the middle of summer.

Evergreen mahonia and viburnum tinus shrubs are very hardy and will give structure and texture with their deep green leaves, before releasing their respective blooms; viburnum with its delicate white flower clusters and mahonia with its bright yellow spine-like flowers. Lonicera or winter honeysuckle are fantastic climbers and will bloom with lovely little white and yellow flowers that are very fragrant, adding another layer of interest, and adding colour to an otherwise plain fence or wall. Iris also blooms early in the year, showing off their deep blue and purple hues during an otherwise grey time, and are great for pot gardening too. Then holly – a winter favourite – will give you lots of interest with its glossy evergreen leaves and red berries. Just be sure to have a male and female variety nearby to get the vibrant red berries.


Spring is a wonderful time of year as the days get longer again and the weather gets gradually warmer. That means lots of plants start to wake up and flower: azaleas, rhododendrons, pieris forest flame, skimmia, clematis, daffodils, violas, hyacinths, tulips, cherry blossom trees, magnolia, malus crab apple trees, cosmos, dahlias, spirea, primula, choiysa, wisteria, allium, ceanothus, and forsythia are some of the most popular shrubs and plants around, offering a  colourful feast for the eyes when they bloom. Azaleas and rhododendrons come in many varieties with different colours from oranges, pinks, purples, reds, yellows and white, and all provide stunning interest. Azaleas with their lovely strong scents can add another layer of interest for your garden. Camellias go well with azaleas and rhododendrons and are much loved for their glossy leaves and lavish early spring flowers from pure white to deep reds.

The pieris forest flame – a feature in many a British garden – is a wonderful evergreen bushy shrub that makes masses of delightful hanging bulb-like cream flowers beloved by bees. It also has a burst of bridge red leaves that gradually turn pink, a white/cream, then green. You get a lot from this amazing shrub. Forsythia, another great shrub, is deservedly one of the most popular spring shrubs you can add to the garden as it is very hardy and bursts forth with clouds of yellow blossom every year without fail.

Skimmia japonica is a great choice particularly for shady gardens because they prefer a shaded spot and can even tolerate deep shade. The leaves are oval shaped and dark green contrasted by lovely creamy-white or purply-red fragrant flowers that come in late autumn and stay through until the spring followed by lovely white or red berries. The female variety has red berries for most of the year, or year-round, depending on the variety. Clematis are great climbers also quite suited for shady gardens. They are one of the fastest growing climbing plants around giving a burst of spring colour – white, reds, pinks, purples, and more – often in masses of flowers in a variety of shapes.

Let’s not forget about some of our wonderful trees that wake up and give a show in spring. One of the most popular are cherry blossoms, which simply wow with their light or deep pink clumps of flowers followed by deep-red cherry fruits. Crab apples like malus evereste also blossom in the spring with wonderful white flowers opening from deep red buds. Magnolia too, an early flowering shrub that can grow into a small tree, gives a real show through spring with its star shaped flowers in light pinks to deep burgundy shades. Each of these will also bring a lovely fragrance to the garden to enjoy.

Finally, no spring guide for colour would be complete without mentioning daffodils. A spring essential, they are easy to grow, reliable and make a splendid sight with their yellow flowers. Likewise with tulips, but of course these come in more colours from whites to bold pinks, reds, purples, oranges, and yellow too. They really brighten the mood of the garden immensely.


For most gardeners, the summer months are typically the most rewarding and usually the most planned time when it comes to colour and interest. Roses, sweet peas, hydrangeas, geraniums, lavender, peonies, delphinium, dahlias, hostas, hebes, heuchera, sunflower, bluebells, lilies, begonias, poppies, marigolds, fuchsia, buddleia, and verbena love the hotter sunnier weather and give a great injection of colours. Though with the demands of the summer weather all these plants will need more feeding and watering to look their best, especially in periods of drought.

Roses are easy to grow, look fantastic, and will flower year after year, bringing amazing colour – white, to pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, and peach – and fragrance to your fences, arches, borders, and patio pots. Lavender, also easy to grow is the quintessential plant of summer for many a gardener, with their violet hues and soothing scent.

Dahlias are a must for colour in the summer garden for the sheer array of colours they bloom in, and their flower shapes and sizes too. They’ll keep flowering from midsummer right through to the first frosts too. Another classic summer plant, the sunflower, brings cheer and joy to any space with their bright yellow petals and dark centres. Tall sweet peas with their violet, purple, red, blue, and white hues add a touch of romance to any garden space, great for picking too to bring colour from the garden into the home. Geraniums are one of Britain’s best loved flowers, providing splashes of Mediterranean colour – reds, pinks and whites – to your garden for months on end.

Hostas, with their lush foliage, are excellent for adding texture and contrast in shady parts of the garden. Though primarily grown for their leaves rather than flowers, which come in shades of green, blue, yellow, and variegated forms, though they also produce spikes of lavender or white flowers later in summer. Similarly, heuchera foliage is very colourful, coming in deep reds, amber, and purple offering gorgeous contrasts in any bed or border.

For late summer colour, hydrangeas are a wonderful addition for their large ornamental flower heads that come in a wide array of colours that may even change depending on the soil type and nutrients.


Depending on the plant, weather patterns and how sunny your garden is, it’s common for some summer blooming plants to continue to bloom into early autumn, some even until the temperature really begins to fall. In autumn months however, asters, anemones, dahlias, chrysanthemums, echinaceas, sedum, cotoneaster, malus evereste crab apple, acers, and euonymous show off a bit more.

Anemones, asters, chrysanthemums, and dahlias will continue to flower until the first frosts, if they are regularly fed and fading blooms deadheaded. Likewise with some care sedum flowers – also known as autumn joy – will bloom in abundance until the first frosts with their star-shaped flowers which are a nice contrast to other more upright flowers. These plants together will give you the complete spectrum of colour from pinks to reds, blues, purples, oranges, yellows, cream and white. Just when you think the colours are fading these plants are producing it in abundance.

When it comes to trees, acers for instance, with their lacy leaves burst into fiery reds and oranges before falling during the autumn months as they start to go dormant until the following spring. Crab apple trees like the malus evereste and cotoneasters give beautiful displays of fruit; malus of course with their small red-orange apples and cotoneasters with their vibrant red berries. These are popular with birds and provide a much-needed food source going into the winter.

Euonymus shrubs also give an autumn show as they begin to go dormant. Their leaves are bright or yellow turn shades of pink, red, some even turn scarlet.

A Lasting Impact of Colour in the Garden to Uplift Us

For most people, summer is the high time for colour in the garden, and the first frosts at the end of autumn signal a bit of a shutdown until spring comes back around. But with this guide, you’ve got the know-how to start crafting a garden that gives you wonderful colour and interest all year round right into autumn and winter. Colour itself has amazing effects on our minds and spirits, as does nature, so aiming for year-round colour will really lift our spirits during those grey days and bring a lot of visual interest to your outdoor space. We hope we’ve got you thinking now what you’ll add to the garden. Happy planting!


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