POT­TING-UP WIN­TER CON­TAIN­ERS

Great tips for plant­ing a gor­geous ar­range­ment

Amateur Gardening - - Contents -

‘Cre­at­ing a colour pal­ette is all part of the fun’

IT may be cold out­side, but the best an­ti­dote for staving off the win­ter blues is spend­ing a cou­ple of hours cre­at­ing bed­ding con­tain­ers. Plant­ing for im­pact and long-last­ing colour is pos­si­ble with a good mix of plants. The trend for mix­ing ever­greens with grasses and in­stant bed­ding makes a sub­stan­tial dis­play and if you pop in spring bulbs as well, you can be as­sured of a suc­ces­sion of flow­ers to take you through un­til into the spring.

Choose from ev­er­green shrubs and small or­na­men­tal grasses such as

Stipa tenuis­sima and ophio­pogon, com­bined with heucheras in shades of pur­ple, am­ber or sil­ver, senecio, lamium and trail­ing ivy. Struc­tured fo­liage plants will cre­ate a back­drop to minia­ture cy­cla­men, pan­sies, or­na­men­tal cab­bages and vi­o­las.

Plac­ing the pots to­gether in the gar­den cen­tre to cre­ate an ap­peal­ing colour pal­ette is all part of the fun – I can spend hours load­ing up my trol­ley, adding and re­mov­ing plants as the mood takes me.

Bulbs such as retic­u­lata irises, cro­cuses, minia­ture tulips and grape hy­acinths also pro­vide a suc­ces­sion of colour. The gen­eral rule is, the larger the bulb, the deeper they need to be planted, at least three times their depth.

I planted a con­tainer for win­ter and spring in­ter­est and used a tall, glossy-leaved Hyper­icum ‘Mag­i­cal Red’ as the cen­tral plant, sur­rounded by a var­ie­gated ivy, a rust-coloured Carex Buchananii and a lit­tle thyme for scent and cook­ing. The colour will come from two cy­cla­men and a few vi­o­las.

I also planted bulbs of Iris retic­u­lata ‘Lady Beatrix Stan­ley’, which bloom a rich blue with white flecks in Fe­bru­ary, and some dwarf white-and-yel­low Poly­chroma tulips that will come into flower in March.

They key thing to re­mem­ber when plant­ing up a win­ter con­tainer is that plants are more vul­ner­a­ble to cold and wet over the win­ter months and need ex­tra pro­tec­tion.

As I show you here, bub­blewrap, fleece and pot feet are key el­e­ments in keep­ing your plants healthy and alive un­til spring.

Stand pots on feet to help wa­ter es­cape Colour­ful pots with a va­ri­ety of plants will colour the gar­den un­til spring

These plants should look good through win­ter

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