IN the depths of winter, TV gardening expert Carol Klein cannot wait until the spring when she can wander through the woodland area of her Devon garden to see what gems are emerging.
"I love that feeling of intimacy and enclosure in my woodland garden," she enthused.
"I've chosen plants which typify the setting, starting off the year with snowdrops, which resist any amount of wind, yet those heavy bell flowers stay suspended on little, skinny stems which allow them to move around without coming to any harm.
"They look best in crowds. Left to their own devices they will colonise and spread."
Woodland gardens traditionally welcome plants which will thrive in shade, or at least dappled shade.
Snowdrops are followed by a succession of other bulbs, hellebores and pulmonarias, primroses, springtime trilliums and erythroniums (dog tooth violets), woodruff, wood anemones and bluebells in the shady garden.
Epimediums are among Carol's favourite woodland plants.
They will thrive even in dry, dense shade, and are grown primarily for their foliage, heart-shaped leaves borne on wiry stems and changing colour as the season progresses.
When planting epimediums among tree roots, add plenty of humus-rich material around the roots but avoid strong manure, as epimediums in their natural habitat would be fed by leaf litter.
"In March, our native primrose is at home among oak leaves and ferns," she said.
"If the primrose was a new introduction from some far-off place, gardeners would fight each other to possess it.