In the midst of winter, what better way to find colour in those bleak periods but from smaller hardy annuals/perennials. These plants will provide an array of colour at the front of borders with next to no bother. The perennials will re-appear the following year and the annuals after flowering will have set seed elsewhere.
Cyclamen coums are early and often can be seen alongside Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), although Cyclamens flower for a longer period. Snowdrops are known to flower for a matter of weeks. The storage organ of the Cyclamen (Corm) allows you to divide over time and multiply numbers. It flowers from late winter to spring.
Bellis is a good ground cover plant for edges and effective in containers. The perennial will flower in autumn. It is effective in most aspects and can cope with exposed areas. It has a tendency to self seed so dead-head to avoid unecessary growth.
Pansies are not strictly perennial but they can come back and often do. It will flower in late winter to spring. It’s smaller cousin Viola shares the same growth habit.
Hellebore (Lentern/Christmas Rose) will flower in winter (usually but there are exceptions). It is generally an easy perennial to look after save very wet soil. The uplifting flowers on the darkest of days. They in fact prefer semi shade.
Primrose/Polyanthus are similar to the Pansy. They often come back and bring colour year after year often improving in their performance. It can be bought as a bedding plant but it will provide you with winter colour right through till spring.
Another spring flowering perennial that often is overlooked is the wallflower. It is hardy and is often incorporated with spring bulbs. It flowers March onwards usually but can be planted in the winter months. Effective in cracks of walls hanging down or in containers.