Hello, I’m Andy, the Head Gardener here at Haddonstone in Northamptonshire. I’ve been a professional landscaper for over 20 years and I joined Haddonstone two years ago, where I’m responsible for keeping the Show Gardens in tiptop condition for our many visitors and customers. I’ll be writing a regular blog with tips and advice on gardening throughout the changing seasons, planting advice and recommendations for ensuring your Haddonstone planters and garden ornaments look fantastic all year long.
The Show Gardens are looking very bare at the moment following a stunning Autumn and the first few frosts of the season – and with some considerable snow earlier this week, there is definitely a lack of colour to be seen. Despite what you might think, there are plenty of hardy perennials that can be planted during the winter and with the right care, will bring reliable colour to your garden annually. Here are three really simple and cost-effective winter planting options that require minimal time and effort but will bring plenty of colour and interest to your garden, patio or terrace.
Small Heritage Planter Herb Garden
First, you will need a selection of robust herbs. I’ve chosen oregano, thyme, sage and rosemary. The rosemary and thyme will produce pretty flowers during the Spring and all of these are low maintenance and are great choices for planting or for keeping pot-bound in a beautiful planter. More importantly, all of these herbs are evergreen and can be used for cooking. I’ve chosen the Haddonstone Heritage Planter for this herb garden. We have Heritage planters in each size in the Show Garden and I thought the bright Portland colour would contrast well against the green leaves of the herbs. The design is quite modern, so this could be used in almost any garden and this planter is also frost-proof, so will be fine to be outside all year round.
Even though I’m using the small Heritage Planter, it has generous planting room and has helpful drainage holes at the bottom.
For deeper planters like this one, I’d recommend placing some drainage material such as rocks or stones in the bottom to prevent your compost from being washed out of the container.
Fill the planter with standard multi-purpose compost and leave enough room to add the herbs.
Carefully remove the herbs from their pots and place on top of the compost.
Add additional compost around the plants and make sure there is a gap of about 2.5cm (1 inch) between the soil level and the top of the container. This will ensure there’s room for the water to soak in.
Water well to settle any air pockets and to give the new plants a well-deserved drink.
Small Tudor Jardinere Winter Colours
For a really simple burst of colour during the winter months, you can’t go wrong with a lovely primula mix (Primula vulgaris from the Primulaceae family), which are available in a wide range of colours and will flower all the way from Winter to Spring.
I’ve chosen to bring some warmth into the Show Gardens with some yellow, red and pink flowering primroses and have chosen the Haddonstone Small Tudor Jardinere which I think will complement the size of the plants really well.
To add height, I’ve bought some early-flowering daffodils, which will have been forced in a green-house, but are ideal for adding height to any planter and will add even more bright colour to your garden. This variety is the Narcissus Tete a Tete, from the Amaryllidaceae family, and I expect these will last for a few good weeks at this time of year.
Follow the same steps as with the Herb Garden. With the daffodils, very gently separate the bulbs and plant individually or in groups amongst the primroses.
Clarence Urn Evergreens
My final winter planting idea recommendation is to combine the really hardy Slimmia Japonica Rubella, from the Rutaceae family.
This is a very hardy evergreen variety that will withstand the frost and snow. It has beautiful dark green leaves and will flower eventually, providing attractive small white or yellowish flowers every year.
For this planting option, I’ve chosen to plant us the Haddonstone Clarence Urn on display in our Show Gardens – it has an attractive bowl, a generous planting area and I think the slightly aged look of this planter really shows off the flowers and foliage at their best.
Remember to use ericaceous compost for these lime-resistant plants.
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