Flowering, at the time of the year the garden, most needs colour. The plants I recommend in this series are based on my experience of working as Landscaper in Dublin.

Yellow flowers are most welcome for their high impact in the Winter Months, as its one of the strongest colours in the colour spectrum, and as result stands out extremely well in the predominately dark days of the Winter Season.

That takes us to Mahonia a charming plant that grows in almost all kinds of soils and weather conditions. It can grow to 2 meters or more without too much difficulty.

It is a tough evergreen shrub that is resistant to most of the garden pests due to its durability and coarse leaves. Interestingly it’s considered invasive in some US states where it is known as Oregon Grape.

Of recent a new variety has been made available of Mahonia that is a more compact size making a very agreeable choice for the more modern smaller garden. The varieties Charity and Aquifolium are the best-known taller varieties

The smaller version most importantly is plant of definite note as it won the prestigious RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2013. Called ‘Soft Caress’ it has foliage unlike any other Mahonia as it is soft rather than spikey, meaning this variety also works great in pots designed for Winter Display. Similar to the Taller version it produces a really nice display of spires of scented yellow flowers which are followed by black berries.

Happily, it is also a garden wildlife-friendly plant that caters for pollinating insects looking for nectar which it produces in the off-season months. Birds will also be very grateful as Mahonia produces edible fruits, which for the ambitious jam can be made from them, but it should be noted that excessive consumption, is not advised.On a final note, even though it is a tough plant