It’s been a particularly lovely autumn and just now the leaf colour on the trees is a sight to behold. The sunny weather and blue skies we’ve been enjoying help to make the landscape – and the garden – sing with colour. But thoughts are turning now to the weeks and months ahead- how can we keep the garden looking cheerful over winter, until the spring bulbs arrive?
Container planting is one of the easiest ways. Pots and windowboxes planted up for the winter season can lift the spirits as you approach the front door and keep the garden looking alive. There are a few things to remember to get the best from winter container displays.
Shape and structure is the first– yes, this matters, even in a pot. Summer plants will flower profusely and billow outwards, looking generous, but it’s too cold for this in winter, so you need to make sure your container has some shape. Small evergreen shrubs form a good backbone around which you can arrange smaller plants – look for potted cultivars of Euonymus, Pittosporum and Leucothoe for starters. You can always plant them out in the garden later.
Foliage is the next– leaves with a touch of white, cream or yellow will bring a lovely touch of light on dark days, as will glossy, evergreen leaves that reflect the light, and stand up well to winter weather. Variegated Vinca minor and small pots of ivy are super here, and allowing them to trail over the edges softens the arrangement.
Colour is important, and the bright cyclamen, heathers and winter flowering pansies available now will provide it – but consider including evergreen grasses too, in shades of bronze and russet as well as green. Anything with berries is a bonus, as long as you don’t mind hungry birds helping themselves!
Finally make sure you use fresh compost – the old stuff will have no nutrients left by now – and remember to water occasionally if the compost feels dry. Happy planting!
Rounded box shapes and trailing ivy bring structure to these city windowboxes.
Anne Byrne Garden Design provides easy to follow Garden Plans that you can implement right away or in stages. Anne’s design flair and passion for plants brings a touch of magic to gardens of all sizes.
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