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February is a quiet month for gardeners generally, but as it can be a windy and stormy time of the year, a useful exercise is to check for any wind broken branches and remove them before they cause more damage.  Look at ties and stakes too to make sure they are still secure and, if any recently planted shrubs have lifted, then gently firm them back down.

This month’s planting recipe
Jan planting recipe 300x208

Putting a planted pot at your front door or on your patio can do wonders for the look of your outside space and bring a cheery burst of colour to the winter months. To give you some inspiration and show you how easy it is to do, here are two ideas for planted containers you could make up this month.

Small shrubs and greenery give valuable height in winter containers and you can either leave them in place for a year or two or move them into your border to grow bigger.

Tip one: Aim for a good mix of foliage and flowering plants. Most winter bedding will stop flowering when the weather is really cold so if your pots have a good selection of foliage in them as well as bedding then they will still look good.

Tip two:  Do remember that anything planted just now simply won’t put on much growth. So you can break the horticultural rules and plant your pots up densely for instant impact. Consider it a little more along the lines of flower arranging than gardening and you won’t go far wrong!

Recipe one: for a small reddish themed pot

Cyclamen are always favourites and justifiably so. Their delicate little flowers are often scented and they also have attractive foliage. For this planting scheme pick those with a silvery tone to their leaves.

You’ll need:

  • Cyclamen – two or three with red flowers, depending on the size of the container
  • One taller foliage plant such as a rosemary plant or a small conifer
  • Two or three dark pink or red violas

Plant the conifer or foliage plant to the back of the container and arrange the cyclamen around it. Tuck in the violas to fill any space.

Recipe two: for a larger pot

You’ll need:

  • A hellebore – if you pick one with pink tones through its flowers, it will go nicely with the shrub
  • A leucothoe – its colourful leaves will bring lovely mixed red tones into the scheme
  • A small skimmia
  • Two flowering heathers – pink or white
  • Two or three white violas, or cyclamen, depending on available space
  • Trailing variegated ivy

Arrange the bigger plants towards the back with the smaller ones tucked in around, and the ivy trailing over the front. If the hellebore has any old tough leaves on it then cut them off.

Do have a go – it’s easier than you might think and you’ll love the results!

We always have a display of ready planted containers at Merryhatton so if you need any more ideas, just pop in.


Ann Rosie and Julie - merryhatton team

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