Brighten win­ter days

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Want flow­ers for win­ter colour? Plant now to en­sure a steady of­fer­ing.

Polyan­thus are a su­perb pickme-up for win­ter dol­drums, with vi­brant colours in al­most ev­ery colour. Plant in sun or part shade in well-drained, com­posten­riched soil. If you have a shel­tered spot, all the bet­ter, as rain and hail may dam­age flow­ers.

Bras­sica ol­er­acea may be a cab­bage but this white or bright pur­ple-leafed or­na­men­tal is a hit with florists. In bou­quets the long-last­ing rosettes look like some sort of ex­otic rose, and in the gar­den they pro­vide great colour. Plant seedlings or pot­ted colour in full sun in rich, welldrained soil. You of­ten find them in the pot­ted colour sec­tion at gar­den cen­tres.

Pan­sies are a cheer­ful ad­di­tion to the win­ter gar­den too and make pretty posies for in­doors. Plant seedlings or pot­ted colour in moist, fer­tile soil in full sun or par­tial shade.

Stock (Matthi­ola in­cana) is a well-loved an­nual, grown for its spicy, clove-scented flow­ers in white, pink, laven­der, rose or red. Plant seedlings or pot­ted colour in a sunny spot in freedrain­ing soil.

Ice­land pop­pies (Pa­paver nudi­caule) have del­i­cate-look­ing pa­per-crepe flow­ers, but don’t let that fool you. They’re hardy win­ter-flow­er­ing an­nu­als in cheer­ful shades of yel­low, salmon-pink, or­ange and white. Plant seedlings in full sun.

Look out for beau­ty­berry (Cal­li­carpa bo­d­inieri) in gar­den cen­tres. This or­na­men­tal shrub has bril­liant pur­ple berries (dru­pes) that first ap­pear in au­tumn and con­tinue into win­ter. They stand out even more in win­ter when the leaves have fallen. Beau­ty­berry grows best in full sun in well-drained soil. Plant more than one beau­ty­berry for bet­ter berry set.

Now’s a great time to be look­ing out for cor­nus va­ri­eties as well, in par­tic­u­lar those with coloured stems over win­ter. One such va­ri­ety is Cor­nus alba ‘Ele­gan­tis­sima’, which has mag­nif­i­cent red stems in win­ter. Though this plant has great in­ter­est for all the sea­sons. It has var­ie­gated leaves for a start, small cream flow­ers ar­ranged into flat-topped in­flo­res­cences dur­ing sum­mer, and white berries in au­tumn that some­times show a hint of blue.

There’s no need to go with­out colour this win­ter. Just head to your lo­cal gar­den cen­tre and see what’s in store now.

Polyan­thus of­fer aw­in­ter pick-me-up of colour.

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