Gardening with Clive Sullivan of Cameron Landscapes and
Ballylesson Garden Centre
WINDOW boxes and containers can be as attractive in winter as in
They may lack the vivid colours of fuchsias,
petunias and other summer flowering basket plants, but the
weaker sunshine and lower light levels make the subtler colours
of winter foliage and flowers shine giving a splash of colour
where it's needed.
There are bulbs, too, which will add to the
burst of colour long before spring brings life to the borders,
so when you strip out your summer displays, instead of leaving
the window box empty, think of winter planting.
will be needed to make up the bulk of the display, evergreens
are important. Some of these can stay in the boxes all year.
Ivy, in almost any of its variegated forms, will make attractive
garlands to trail over the sides. Plant among these, winter
flowering pansies and crocus, snowdrops, aconites and dwarf
narcissi. The bigger and brasher the better. Add a primrose or
two, just for good measure.
As autumn winds and rain take
their toll, mixed and herbaceous borders are beginning to look a
little dishevelled but try to resist the temptation to cut them
back and tidy them up too much. Herbaceous plants, as they
decline and die back, can look attractive especially on a frosty
morning in slanting sunshine.
Some plants including hostas,
alliums and euphorbias will turn brilliant gold before dying,
helping to make a fine autumnal display.
Wildlife will benefit
from this too as well as sheltering many species, including
hibernating hedgehogs. Dying perennials carry insects and seeds
which will feed many small birds.