As the lowest low-pressure system in 150 years approaches the UK across the Atlantic, there’s precious little chance of enjoying any natural sunshine. A shrub guaranteed to brighten up the dullest, wettest winter is Mahonia x media ‘Charity’. It’s a garden stalwart, tolerating pollution and repelling intruders with its sharply pointed leaves. On a warm winter’s day the scent is quite lovely, but it’s the sunflower-yellow flowers that do the business. Give it some shade and space to grow and Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ will reward for many years.