An easy way to provide interest in the winter garden is with thoughtfully planted containers. If you want plenty of flowers then Annuals are ideal. These plants are cheap and widely available at garden centres. If you enjoy gardening as I do than it is a lot of fun to spend time putting together combinations of plants that combine well in terms of colour, form and texture.
In this newly planted container we have picked a colour scheme of pink, silver and green.
The plants here are mainly small mounds but we have also included a trailing bugle at the front and an upright shrub in the middle. We have picked plants with a variety of interesting leaves, as although we like to see flowers, the reality is that the leaves will have to carry the interest for some of the time, particularly if the flowering plants are not dead headed. Finally we have included a scented shrub, the Sarcococca, which gives off a wonderful jasmine-like perfume when it flowers in January. Annual plants are fast growing and these plants will all fill out as the season progresses.
There are other things to consider when choosing your plants, think about where you are going to put your pot.
We like to ensure that the container is going to sit well in the garden with relation to the existing planting. We chose the pink scheme for this fountain to combine with the Nerines which are a striking feature in this garden during the Autumn.
If you want to create a more permanent feature in your garden you might consider using shrubs and perennial plants in a container.
In this trough positioned in a shady entranceway we have picked a group of evergreen plants with tidy but interesting leaves to provide a year round green base. We then have Seasonal Highlights as the different components come into flower. Here in November the Liriope is just starting to flower along with the Skimmia rubella. Beneath the soil we have planted bulbs which will be coming into flower in Feb / March and at the front we have left a space for flowering annuals which we change in Spring and Autumn.
I spotted this colourful idea for a winter pot at the RHS Halls.
They have used two great grasses, Libertia and Orphiopogon which have neat strappy leaves and contrasted them with the textural domes of the Sempervivums. The colour scheme of yellow and black is bright and lively, just what you need during the cold grey months. The crocus bulbs have a short flowering season but it doesn't matter because the plants chosen for this pot will look great together all year round.
Finally a stylish idea for a city window sill. Here the combination of ferns and Helleborus niger produce a cool and simple look. The refined colour palate of white and green is a great choice if you want to create a sophisticated feel in your outside space.
Look out for my next blog when I plan to discuss how to choose the right plants for your chosen container.