Sunday, July 19, 2015

Winter Colour

I guess I'm lucky living in Melbourne as the temperatures don't get so low as to stop you growing things during the winter months, although it's been a bit freezy the last day or two and frost has been around in the morning, which is a bit unusual here. I remember my English winters where the ground gets too hard to dig and snow lays like a blanket atop the soil while Jack Frost nips at your nose!

Here I manage to maintain some winter colour, most of the plants can be grown in pots or direct into the soil. One of my favourite winter plants is the Polyanthus and I always like to grow these in pots on the window sill where I can see them through my kitchen window.

Another favourite for this time of the year is the Primula. When planted in groups you get a lovely drift of lacy flowers. If planting in pots/containers I always recommend using a premium potting mix so as to give your seedlings the best start. Then a liquid feed once a fortnight will bring them on full speed ahead!  
What is also a welcome sight at this time of year is to see the yellow heads of daffodils and I particularly love the miniature variety tete a tete. When they open up it makes you feel spring is not too far away. 

The last of my potted plants is the cyclamen, it wouldn't be winter without these beauties. I always have one potted plant on my deck and when it's finished flowering, I replant it into a shady spot in the garden where it will flower winter after winter for years to come.

Winter also has a place for flowering shrubs and there is no  shortage of those to choose from. In my own garden I have a few varieties of camellias, both the sasanqua which flower first then are followed by the japonica. They give a wonderful colour at this time of the year with their rose like blooms.

One of my all time favourites for winter colour is the Jacobinia Firefly. It just lights up the garden with its bright red and yellow tubular flowers. All it needs is a light prune after flowering to keep it in shape.

Another with attractive two toned bell flowers is the Chinese Lantern (Abutilon) 'Marilyn's Choice.'

And for a big splash of colour you can't go past Osteospermum 3D Pink!  Although it does look more purply than pink.

Now I've talked about winter colour and how you can brighten up the cooler months of the year, but we must not forget that gardening is all about forward planning. If you want a spring display you do have to think ahead. 

The flower bed in the photo below was planted up in autumn and should provide a really nice show right through spring till summer.  The sweet peas at the back could last well into summer, while the cornflowers and the flanders poppies will eventually be replaced.

So if you're lucky enough to live in a climate that doesn't give you freezing winters, why not plant yourself up some colour and brighten those chilly days! 

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