UK gardens see explosion of winter colour

The UK’s gardens are seeing a rush of winter colour with plants held back by December’s cold spell all now flowering in sync, says the RHS, as it calls it the perfect antidote to Blue Monday (Monday 16th). With the temperature set to drop this week, the charity is expecting a prolonged display of winter favourites this year that will last well into February.

Witch hazels, winter-flowering honeysuckle, Japanese quince, hellebores, and snowdrops are all now in full flower after the heat and light of last summer promoted good bud formation, December’s freezing conditions provided the necessarily chilling that plants need to flower, and recent above-average temperatures promoted speedier growth.
With the forecast suggesting temperatures will fall very slightly over the next few weeks, this flowering is set to be sustained into February with flowers slower to 'go over' in colder conditions.
Last year, summer favourites such as salvias and roses flowered up until December in the south when temperatures plunged, making the last 12 months an exceptional one for gardens, the charity said, with very little down time.  
Flowering in garden plants is triggered by a number of factors such as temperature and day length, and flowering time naturally varies from year to year, influenced by the weather, particularly in winter. Climate change will increase the variability of our weather and cause more frequent extreme weather events, which in turn could disrupt patterns of flowering.
Tim Upson, Director of Horticulture at the RHS said: “This year has already got off to a colourful start in gardens with plants exploding into flower all at once and riding out what has been a ‘see-saw’ year in terms of weather. Although spring has not yet sprung there is already much to see, with the flash of dogwood stems and heady scent of winter-flowering honeysuckle helping to chase the winter blues away and these dramatic displays are set to continue into February.”
As the UK marks Blue Monday, RHS research has long shown the benefits of gardening for health and wellbeing with research continuing apace in 2023. People who garden more frequently report lower stress levels and better wellbeing. Adding plants to front gardens was also found to lower stress levels as much as eight mindfulness sessions. For more information visit:

Notes to editors

Images of RHS gardens in winter flower are available on request. For these, or additional information, contact the RHS press office: [email protected]
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) was founded in 1804 and is the UK’s largest gardening charity.
The RHS vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place via its inspirational gardens and shows, science research and advisory, extensive library collections and far-reaching education and community programmes. With over 600,000 members the RHS also shares its horticultural knowledge and expertise with millions of people every year through its website and publications.
In 2021, the RHS launched its Sustainability Strategy, committing to be net positive for nature and people by 2030. The supporting RHS Planet-Friendly Gardening Campaign will continue to harness the power of the UK’s 30 million gardeners to help tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis.
We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters.
For more information visit
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.