Does your garden need some livening up during the short days of late winter?

If so then the Plant Doctor Mark Reeve, of Coolings Garden Centre, has lots of ideas for you, especially if you have an awkward shady spot where nothing seems to thrive.

Bulbs such as winter aconite that have green ruffled yellow flowers will cheer up the garden in February.

Snowdrops come in a range of flower forms as well as the single flowered variety. There is an attractive double form and varieties such as elwesii and ikariae have larger flowers and leaves. Some have a faint honey-scent but you have to crouch down to appreciate it.

Cyclamen Coum come in a range of shades of pink and white, with some having attractive marbled leaves. They shine out from the base of trees and shrubs like little beacons during the winter. You will find they grow in dry shade which is one of the most awkward spots when it comes to finding a plant that’s at home there.

Speaking of shade, one plant that will revel in it is the glorious hellebore that comes in a fantastic array of colours. Varieties such as Cinnamon Snow, Jacob Royal, Joel, Josef Lemper and Shooting Star have white or pink-tinged flowers.

The Harvington Hybrids bred in the Vale of Evesham come in a range of colours and flower forms.

There is also a range with names too such as Conny, Charlotte, Elly, Frilly Kitty, Mary-Lou, Rachel, Roxanne, Sally and Valerie. Many have been bred in recent years and they have often overcome the habit of the old varieties ‘hanging their heads’ so that you can’t see the lovely markings inside.

The white varieties especially hold the flowers upwards so you can see their full beauty. All they require is a soil in shade that doesn’t dry out too much.