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Celebrate the New Year in style30 December 2014
Celebrate the New Year in style with some inspiration and a brisk, bracing cold-weather walk through some of the country's best winter gardens, full of ideas about how to make your own garden look better at this time of year.
Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire is a great demonstration of the fantastic colour effects you can make from just foliage and bark: look out for their iconic combination of white-stemmed birch underplanted with glowing burgundy leaves of Bergenia. Visit Dunham Massey in Cheshire for extravagant drifts of early spring bulbs, including dusky grey-blue iris 'Katharine Hodgkin', the tiny magenta jewels of Cyclamen coum and sheets of snowdrops.
You can't beat Stourhead, in Wiltshire, for sweeping landscapes and magnificent vistas, shown off to perfection when stripped bare by winter. And wait for a frosty day before visiting Montacute House, in Somerset, or the Blickling Estate in Norfolk; both have huge, gnarly yew hedges which are at their spectacular best rimed in white.
You'll find dozens of winter planting ideas at the Savill Garden in Berkshire, too, where bold drifts of brightly colourful willow stems weave among scarlet dogwoods and the spidery flowers of witch hazels waft scent through the air. It's a wonderful demonstration of just how colourful winter can be.