Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee’ wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Whether the summer clothe the general earth with greeness’……’or whether the eave drops fall, heard only in the trances of the blast’…..Fair play to him, I say, for being so open – minded. I’m afraid the colder, darker seasons are not very sweet to me, and when the poet wrote those lines he didn’t have central heating, Netflix and other small comforts that make the winter bearable. What he did have though, was an appreciation of the natural world and a sense of the beauty to be found in it at all times.
As we get ready to go into the tunnel of damp and darkness that is winter, it’s time to think about planting up some containers for splashes of colour to lift the spirits during the months ahead. These won’t have the exuberant splendour of summer containers – you won’t have cascades of lush foliage and big blooms – but as so much of the outside world turns grey and brown for the next few months, the colour they bring to our immediate surroundings is very welcome.
Winter container plants tend to be more compact than their summer cousins – they have to be, to withstand the wind and rain they’ll be subject to- but some are just as lovely. Placing them near to doors and windows allows them to be seen when other parts of the garden may be out of bounds for a while.
Potted cyclamen are about now in pretty shades of pink and red as well as white and the markings on their heart shaped leaves are lovely too. Winter pansies and violas bring a welcome splash of blue or purple, and small trailing ivies – especially when variegated in white or yellow – bring a more generous, flowing look to your pots. For the centre, pink budded skimmias or small evergreen shrubs like euonymus or leucothoe bring some height and structure. Pop in a few spring bulbs underneath such as Narcissus Tete a Tete to bloom in February and you’ll have something cheerful to greet you every day till spring comes round again!
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