GardeningBC.com
Home About Us Contact Us
Events Web Links Articles Brian Minter Classified Ads
Add a Listing  |  Log In
Add colour to lift winter spirits
Add colour to lift winter spirits

Wouldn't it be great to have con­tinuous colour on our patios and decks over the winter months to lift our spirits on those particularly bleak winter days?

With so many new plants becoming avail­able, it's getting easier to create some neat combinations that will stand the stress of winter weather. To be fair though, when the temperature dips below minus eight degrees C, most containers and baskets will have to be moved to a sheltered area out of severe cold winds. They can be brought back out when the thermometer goes up to zero degrees C or above.

There are, however, a few things I've learned about winter planters that can make a difference. First, choose contain­ers or baskets that are at least 45 centime­tres in diameter. The effects from freezing and thawing is less dramatic on plants in larger containers.

Secondly, make sure you have very well drained soils. I always use a good container mix, to which I add about 25 per cent more fine fir or hemlock bark mulch to improve both the drainage and air move­ment to the roots.

The secret in creating any good container is to remember that it's nice to have a proportion of two-thirds plant height and one-third pot. Nothing looks more goofy than a few low plants in a large pot.

You also need a bit of flair and style, which can be easily achieved with a great focal plant.

My winter favourites are contorted fil­berts, Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus auellana `Contorta') and neat looking conifers like Pinus parviflora Pinus stro­bus pendula or Picea abies pendula. These are all hardy plants that not only create interest but also look sensational.

The next thing to remember is that none of the plants in your containers will grow much over the winter and must be snuggled together a little closer than usual to achieve a nice full look.

Evergreen perennials fit this bill perfectly. My favourites for hardiness and colour are bergenias, heucheras, heucherellas, tiarellas and euphorbias, especially all the new colourful foliage varieties.

Each of these perennials has terrific winter colour and an attractive habit. Some are more stiff and upright, while others, like the heucheras and tiarellas, will droop gently over the edge of your container. There are many other evergreen perennials, like the golden sedum Ange­lina', that have such an attractive look.

The secret in creating any good container is to remember that it's nice to have a proportion of two-thirds plant height and one­third pot.

To add a little flair, a few evergreen grasses can make quite a difference. Yellow and green variegated varieties, such as Acorus gramineus `Ogon' and Fescue `Golden Toupe', are my first choice be­cause of their spiky appearance.

They are especially useful in the smaller 10-centimetre potted size. The semi-trailing form of Carex `Evergold' is fabulous to drape over the edge of a basket or container; its variegated yellow and green colouring looks fabulous next to some dark-leafed heucheras.

It's very important to get some trailing plants that spill over the edge of your container. For a little winter colour, Search out the ground cover section in garden stores for some 10 cm potted cotoneasters. Evergreen varieties, like Cotoneaster dam­meri, not only droop nicely over the edge of baskets and containers, but their red berries also add a nice touch.

All of these plants will give you a great winter look that you can depend upon right through the colder months.

But there is still a little spark missing flower colour.

winter pansies will sort of do the job, but the hardier and more resilient violas are best. Violas have improved dramatically over the years with better colour ranges, flower size and more consistent blooming.

Speaking of colour, remember when us­ing all the foliage colours I've mentioned, group them in one of two ways for the best effect. First, use warm colours like gold, bronze, burgundy and yellow tones at this time of year for a more comfortable look. Secondly, the most effective combinations use analogous colours, that is tints and hues of those colours next to each other on the colour wheel. Believe me, it does make a significant difference.

Whether you choose wall pockets or patio containers, I would encourage you to try this potentially wonderful new way of adding warmth to your winter decks and entrances.

Article courtesy of:
Minter Gardens Minter Gardens

Exit #135 Highway #1, Chilliwack, BC, Canada   V2P 6H7

Phone: (604) 794-7191   Fax: (604) 792-8893

www.mintergardens.com/

email: Click Here

32 Acre World Class Show Garden & Event Facility

DateArticle TitleSource
Jul 2013  Ornamental Grasses  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2012  Winterizing your Garden  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2012  TOP TEN GARDEN OPPORTUNITIES FOR OCTOBER  Minter Gardens 
Jan 2012  Protecting plants from winter damage  Minter Gardens 
Jan 2012  Winter Flowering Shrubs  Minter Gardens 
Dec 2011  Twelve great plants for Christmas  Minter Gardens 
Nov 2011  Christmas Rose  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2011  Fall Foliage Colour  Minter Gardens 
Sep 2011  Little Bulbs  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2011  Growing's not over, there's fall, winter  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2011  Stunning summer blooming heathers  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2011  Perennials for Late Summer Colour  Minter Gardens 
May 2011  Spring Rose Care  Minter Gardens 
Mar 2011  Asparagus why not grow your own  Minter Gardens 
Feb 2011  High time to prune flowering shrubs  Minter Gardens 
Jan 2011  Inside Color  Minter Gardens 
Dec 2010  Hellbores the new Christmas plant  Minter Gardens 
Nov 2010  Top 10 winter garden opportunities  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2010  Winter Containers  Minter Gardens 
Sep 2010  Ornamental Grasses More popular  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2010  hibiscus  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2010  Crocosmias a summer garden delight  Minter Gardens 
Jun 2010  Rethinking use of roses in your garden  Minter Gardens 
Feb 2010  Feeding birds  Minter Gardens 
Jan 2010  Some special plants for winter gardens  Minter Gardens 
Dec 2009  Dormant Spraying  Minter Gardens 
Dec 2009  Winter not so bleak with heathers  Minter Gardens 
Nov 2009  Give indoor plants attention they need  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2009  Sedums the true champions of late summer  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2009  Winter Vegetable Gardens  Minter Gardens 
Jul 2009  Back Yard Ponds add a vibrant new dimension to your garden  Minter Gardens 
Apr 2009  Dogwood varieties are very classy  Minter Gardens 
Apr 2009  Euphorbias  Minter Gardens 
Mar 2009  Spice up your Foods with Chives  Minter Gardens 
Feb 2009  Time to plant your own asparagus  Minter Gardens 
Nov 2008  Add colour to lift winter spirits  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2008  Using Bulbs to enhance shrubs  Minter Gardens 
Sep 2008  Spring Bulbs, companion planting  Minter Gardens 
Jul 2008  Sedums late summer champions  Minter Gardens 
Dec 2007  Christmas Decor from our Gardens  Minter Gardens 
Jul 2007  Summer FloweringShrubs  Minter Gardens 
Jun 2007  Wollemi Pine  Minter Gardens 
May 2007  Tomatoes  Minter Gardens 
Jan 2007  Indoor Plant Maintenance  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2006  Garden Equipment Maintenance  Minter Gardens 
Sep 2006  History of Tulips  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2006  Shade Trees  Minter Gardens 
Jun 2006  Summer Fragrance  Minter Gardens 
Apr 2006  Rhododendrons  Minter Gardens 
Feb 2006  Moss  Minter Gardens 
Dec 2005  Winter Colour - Interesting Bark and Tree Forms  Minter Gardens 
Nov 2005  Tiger Eyes Sumac  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2005  Unusual Bulbs  Minter Gardens 
Apr 2005  Vines - Varieties  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2004  Winter Vegetables  Minter Gardens 
Jul 2004  Repotting Houseplants  Minter Gardens 
Jan 2004  Minimizing Winter Damage  Minter Gardens 
Dec 2003  Christmas Greens Baskets  Minter Gardens 
Nov 2003  Winterizing Roses  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2003  Forcing Indoor Bulbs  Minter Gardens 
Dec 2001  Poinsettias  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2001  Winter Colour  Minter Gardens 
Jul 2001  Attracting Butterflies to our Gardens  Minter Gardens 
Jan 2001  Pruning Flowering Shrubs  Minter Gardens 
Nov 2000  Winter Flowering Heather  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2000  Unique Bulbs  Minter Gardens 
Jul 2000  Summer Flowering Shrubs  Minter Gardens 
Mar 2000  Small Fruits  Minter Gardens 
Jul 1999  Flowering Shrubs  Minter Gardens 
Search for: in