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Big Impact, Small Space Winter Containers
If you only do one thing in the garden this week, make it planting up a colourful winter pot. Tamsin Hope Thomson has suggestions for patios, entrances and windowsills
Tamsin Hope Thomson

Colourful containers are not just for summer. Arguably, vibrant planted pots are even more vital in winter, when the days are short and grey; and they are the simplest, most effective way to give your garden or entrance a lift. Although there are fewer flowers around at this time of year, many plants make up for their lack of blooms with beautiful stems and foliage in bright reds and scarlets – the perfect antidote to gloomy skies. Others have glossy berries or variegated leaves that will lighten a display.

Even on the bleakest January day, a winter container will give you an instant mood boost. Whether you go for one feature plant or a mix of three, it couldn’t be easier to make an impact. Position your pot where you can see it from indoors – whether that’s in a prominent place on the patio or on a windowsill – and you’ll get optimum enjoyment from it… even if on days when you don’t fancy going outside into the garden.

Instant impact

You don’t have to start from scratch; you can make small changes to permanent pots by adding easy bedding plants like violas and pansies, or miniature bulbs like snowdrops and early daffodils. Buy them in flower for an easy makeover.

If you do want to go for something completely new, build your display around a key focal plant – evergreens like box or variegated Euonymusfortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’ are perfect – and then underplant with foliage favourites such as ivy or heucheras, or reliable low-growing flowering plants.

Cold season blooms include early hellebores, winter heathers and cyclamen, all of which will bring some much-needed cheeriness. And don’t forget to incorporate colourful stems and evergreen grasses – from the scarlet and green hues of Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ to the copper tones of carex, there are plenty of options available.

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January 18, 2020