You don't have to wait for spring to start brightening up your garden with some late-winter flowers and foliage.
While the final weeks of winter can feel like the darkest time of year, spring is just around the corner, and the cold-weather flowers that bloom this month help to bring that brightness a little earlier than most.
Stars of the Season
We all know the usual suspects of the season, and there's a reason why we see those same few flowers again and again - usually because they're some of the prettiest and most reliable to grow.
Galanthus, better known as Snowdrop, is one of the first to poke its head above ground as winter nears its end.
Snowdrops are perennial and most varieties flower before the spring equinox, and will grow through grass to give your lawn some decoration at a time of year when you're not using it much for outdoor entertaining.
Daffodils, scientific name Narcissus, are another of the most popular winter flowers and will grow back from bulb year after year.
Narcissus February Gold will bring a splash of golden yellow to your garden at the start of the year, while Rijnveld's Early Sensation can flower as early as December or January in mild winters.
Evergreen plants are an excellent way to keep some foliage and greenery in your garden all year round, but if you get bored of green, there are some options that will take on a different appearance in cold weather, helping to make up for the lack of flowers until spring.
Euonymus fortunei Emerald 'n' Gold is a pretty green and gold variegated dwarf evergreen shrub that will grow in almost any soil type or location, with good tolerance to dry weather.
In cold weather, Euonymus fortunei often takes on a pink tone, making its foliage an interesting addition to your garden at a time when most other plants only have bare branches to offer.
Another colour changer is Trachelospermum Jasminoides Pyramide, a slow-growing evergreen climbing star jasmine that flowers in summer but can turn deep red in the winter months.
Evergreen shrubs and popular winter flowers like Snowdrops and Daffodils give you a reliable display of greenery and colour each February, but there are some show stoppers you can also add for extra dynamism.
Camellia Elegans is a particularly pretty winter-flowering Camellia. Expect large pinkish-red anemone blooms in February and March, a sure sign that brighter days are ahead.
Prunus x subhirtella 'Autumnalis Rosea' is a winter-blooming rosebud cherry tree that uniquely blossoms right through from late autumn to early spring, to bring life to a garden when most other trees are dormant.
The list goes on and on, with plenty of evergreen shrubs and perennials that grow back year after year, often with little to no attention required in between.
Just make sure you don't disturb their sleeping bulbs through the summer months, and you'll be rewarded with some friendly flowers when February comes round again.