Monty’s winter pot
Tulips always look fantastic in pots and it’s the best way of growing them if you garden on heavy, sticky clay. Placed somewhere prominent, you’ll be able to enjoy their glorious colours come the spring. But to provide a bit of interest over the winter, it’s worth planting a mix of evergreens on top. This year, Monty has chosen a black, purple and silver theme for his big garden pots. Here’s a list of what he planted on camera:
- Tulipa ‘Negrita’ x 12
- Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’ x 12
- Euphorbia characias Silver Swan x 1
- Brachyglottis Walberton's Silver Dormouse x 3
- Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' x 3
- Viola ‘Sorbet Black Delight’ x 12
The Brachyglottis is hardy down to -8ºC and so may not be suitable for very cold areas, but Stachys byzantinus (Lamb’s ear) would make an excellent alternative. Whatever evergreens you choose, invest in some decent sized plants as they won’t put on much growth over the winter. Or have a scout round your own garden to see if there’s anything you could temporarily dig up. Drama is the key when it comes to planting up a winter pot.
Winter containers (apps.rhs.org.uk)
Dutch garden featured
2161 AM Lisse
The amazing tulip garden Rachel went to see in Holland opens for a couple of months each spring. If you fancy a trip next year, it’ll be open from 20 March until 18 May 2014. For more details, check out the link below.
Carol’s South African gems
If you garden in a wet part of the country on rich soil that remains moist all year, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to grow autumn-flowering Hesperantha. They used to be called Schizostylis but DNA tests have revealed that the two genera simply cannot be separated. They deserve to be more widely grown as their silky blooms really do sparkle in the autumn sunshine. They come in red, white and various shades of pink, and provided the plants are given time to settle in, they’ll reward you with a spectacular show for many years to come.
If, on the other hand, you have soil that drains like a sieve, go for nerines. They grow wild on the rocky slopes of the Drakensberg Mountains and absolutely thrive in the poorest soils imaginable. Grow them at the base of a south-facing wall where they’re likely to get a good summer baking. Or grow them on their own in a big pot. They flower best when crammed together, so don’t skimp on numbers when you come to buy the bulbs next spring. Nerine bowdenii is the best one to grow outside as it is completely hardy.
Nerine bowdenii (www.rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Take hardwood cuttings of roses
Roses are easy to propagate from hardwood cuttings and so if you fancy having a go, now’s the time to do it. Choose a straight length of new growth and cut it into sections 15-23cm (6-9in) long. Cut the top of each one above a bud and at an angle to allow rainwater to drain off. Insert the cuttings into a spare bit of ground to roughly two-thirds their length and firm in well. Water during dry spells and, with luck, you’ll see signs of new growth next summer.
What else can I propagate using this method? (apps.rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Bring in pelargoniums
Although most pelargoniums will withstand some frost, it’s a good idea to bring them in before the really cold weather arrives. They like to be stored somewhere cool and dry, but don’t worry too much about giving them light. A good rest is what they need and there’s no need to water them either.
More on overwintering pelargoniums (apps.rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend : Mulch spring-flowering plants
It’s worth giving spring-flowering plants a bit of attention at this time of year. Pull up any weeds and cut back unwanted growth before giving them a good mulch. It doesn’t matter what you use - leafmould, spent compost or bark chippings would all be suitable. As well as helping to keep the roots warm over the winter, it’ll help to conserve soil moisture too.
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